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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Brazen Hamas Billboard Links Hamas to Turkey, Qatar.

April 3, 2014    1 comment
Hamas's publicity billboard that reads, 'Jerusalem is Waiting for Men.' Photo: Screenshot.

Hamas’s publicity billboard that reads, ‘Jerusalem is Waiting for Men.’ Photo: Screenshot.

In a rather conspicuous propaganda stunt, Hamas, the terror group ruling Gaza, foisted a new billboard showing the heads of its Islamist leadership, along with the leaders of Turkey and Qatar, with a caption that implies their help has been recruited to wrest Jerusalem from Israeli control.

The billboard shows Hamas political chief  Khaled Meshal and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, alongside previous and current Qatari leaders Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The billboard reads ”Jerusalem is Waiting for Men,” along with a photo of the Dome of the Rock.

The massive banner was photographed in Gaza by the Palestinian News Agency, and flagged on Thursday by blogger Elder of Ziyon.

The blogger wrote that the sign also implies two other messages.

First, the belittling of leaders of other Arab countries, especially Egypt, where Hamas gained under the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, and is now being shunned after that group, its political “big brother,” was expelled last year.

And, second, that Hamas, which played second fiddle to Islamic Jihad in last month’s shelling of Israel, is the stronger of the two groups and will be on the winning team to, one day, take Jerusalem.

===============================================

Egyptian Entrepreneur Laments Lack of Open Business With Israel.

April 3, 2014   3 comments
Cairo International Airport, where sources spied Israeli and Egyptian security officials meeting to discuss cooperation to fight terrorists in the Sinai. Photo: Cairo International Airport.

Cairo International Airport, where sources spied Israeli and Egyptian security officials meeting to discuss cooperation to fight terrorists in the Sinai. Photo: Cairo International Airport.

An Egyptian entrepreneur said he resents his country’s hostility to Israel which prevents him from openly conducting any business with the Jewish state, Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported late last week.

“It is very unfortunate that we cannot be pragmatic and say this particular country has good quality and inexpensive commodities and we are going to import from it because it is in our interest,” said the unnamed Egyptian, who still does business with Israel on the down low. “After all these years an Israeli commodity on, say, the shelf of a supermarket would not be picked up except by a few people — if we assume that any supermarket would at all dare to carry, say, Israeli fruit juice.”

Like most Egyptian businessmen who work with Israelis, he insisted on remaining anonymous for fear of being “stigmatized as dealing with the enemy,” he told Al-Ahram.

“I really don’t understand; we have a peace deal and we cannot do business, it has been 35 years since this peace treaty was signed and still it is a big issue if someone said let us do business with Israel or let us benefit of their agricultural expertise,” he said.

Trade between Israel and Egypt dropped after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011, but government officials in Cairo say the fall was possibly a result of the subsequent political turmoil, according to the report.

Despite any current animosity Egypt may harbor toward Israel, an independent economic source told Al-Ahram that Egyptian authorities are considering all options in dealing with the country’s current severe energy shortages, not excluding the import of natural gas from Israel.

“Cooperation in natural gas has been very stable for many years despite the suspension and trade dispute that occurred after the 25 January Revolution removed Mubarak — but this is the case with trade cooperation in general, limited and stable,” said a government official.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Sisi’s Incompetent Anti-Islamist Campaign.

 

by Daniel Pipes
Mar 24, 2014
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

 

www.danielpipes.org/blog/2014/03/sisi-incompetent-anti-islamist-campaign

 

An Egyptian court in short order sentenced some 529 people to death today for the killing of a single police officer. News like this gives one pause.

 

 

Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the strongman of Egypt.

Very tough treatment of Islamists is needed to repress this totalitarian movement, including rejection of their efforts to apply Islamic law, keeping them out of mainstream institutions, even excluding their parties from the democratic process. But Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s extra-legal crackdown on Islamists will likely backfire and help the Islamist cause by winning them broad sympathy. Even if today’s absurd judgment gets reversed on appeal, it and others like it are doing real damage.

Sisi is riding high now, with out-of-sight popularity ratings, but he appears as unprepared to rule Egypt as another military man, Gamal Abdul Nasser, was 60 years ago. Two factors in particular – the dismal economy and the hostility between pro- and anti-Islamists – will likely bring Sisi down fast and hard. When that happens, Islamists will benefit from his incompetence no less than Sisi exploited the failures of Mohamed Morsi. The cycle continues, the country falls further behind, and the precipice looms.

 

More broadly, because the expected Egyptian failure in suppressing Islamism will have global ramifications, Sisi’s mistakes damage the anti-Islamist cause not just in his own country but internationally. The stakes in Egypt these days are high indeed. (March 24, 2014)

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and I hope that the folks at Rutgers University take notice and do not cry only – injustice to Muslims in the US – we hope they will rather call for Imams in the US to speak up and tell co-religionists in the Middle East to shape up!

 

Film Screening of the Test of Freedom 
& Talk with Director Khaliff Watkins.

 

APRIL 11th FRIDAY
(4-7pm)
Teleconference Lecture Hall
Alexander Library, New Brunswick NJ
(parking available in lots, 26, 30 & College Ave parking deck)
 
Flyer is attached! 
 
Refreshments & finger foods will be served! 
 


Facing growing hysteria and bias, US Muslims live out their faith and confront discrimination in ways that uplift those around them. Rejecting portrayals as the villain or the victim, they set forward their own narratives about the role of lslam in an increasingly diverse and divided America.

Shehnaz Abdeljaber
Outreach Coordinator
Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Rutgers, Lucy Stone Hall,Room B323
54 Joyce Kilmer Avenue
Piscataway, NJ 08854
p (848)445-8444 x5
shehnaza@rci.rutgers.edu

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from:  Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik (ÖGfE) | Rotenhausgasse 6/8-9 | A-1090 Wien |  europa at oegfe.at | oegfe.at |
+43 1 – 533 4999
FOCUS EUROPAPolicy Brief 2’2014

Reference to the Full Policy Brief - 


The Arab Spring: The role of quality education and the consequences of its lack.
By Anne Goujon
Vienna, 18. February 2014
ISSN 2305-2635
Abstract &  Policy Recommendations:
1. EU Member States should increase bilateral cooperation for teacher training with
Arab Spring Countries.

2. Focus on transparency and accountability in teachers training.

3. Promote the role of the EU as an umbrella and catalyst for all aid-driven education
system reforms activities.
The lack of quality education plays a major role
in explaining the Arab Spring: As a result of past
shortfalls in education, large shares of the working-
age population in the Arab-Spring countries do not
have the right qualifi cations for entering the labour
market. This not only leads to high levels of unem-
ployment but also entails poverty and social dist-
ress. At the macro level, it triggers a vicious cycle
of underdevelopment by hampering an upgrade to
economies driven by knowledge and innovation de-
spite the substantial numbers of higher educated ci-
tizens of working age in these countries. This holds
particularly true for Egypt. Remedying the current
lack of quality education should be a top priority
in the countries of North Africa, because it is the
source of many deficiencies plaguing this region. In
the Arab-Spring countries, the European Union’s
sectoral aid given for education has focused on
quantity (e.g. raising enrollment by supporting the
implementation of the Millennium Development
Goals for Education) rather than on quality, where
interventions usually target higher education (most-
ly through individual sponsorship programmes),
although there are challenges at all levels, starting
with basic education. The European Union’s main
priority should be to guide and assist these coun-
tries in developing training programmes for teachers
as the driving force behind the entire system reform.

Bibliography

Adams, A. and R. Winthrop
. 2011. The role of education in the Arab world. Brookings
Global Compact on Learning Report number 2.
Goujon, A
. 1997. Population and education Prospects in the Western Mediterranean
Region. IIASA Interim Report IR-97-046. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA.
Goujon, A
. 2002. Population and education prospects in the Arab Region. In: I. Siragel-
din (ed.), Human capital: Population Economics in the Middle East. Cairo: The American
University in Cairo Press, An Economic Research Forum Edition: 116-140.
Goujon, A. and B. Barakat
. 2010. Future demographic challenges in the Arab world. The
Emirates Occasional Papers No. 75. Dubai: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and
Research.
Goujon, A. and H. Alkitkat
. 2010. Population et capital humain en Egypte à l’horizon
2050 [Population and human capital in Egypt up to 2050]. In: P. Blanc (ed.), Egyp-
te: l’Eclipse, Confl uences Méditerranée, numéro 75, Automne 2010: 33–48. Paris:
L’ H a r m a t t a n .
Goujon, A., S. K.C. 2010
. Gender gap handicap in North Africa. Options (IIASA, Laxen-
burg, Austria), Summer 2010, p.22.
Makhlouf Obermeyer, C.
1992. Islam, Women, and Politics: The Demography of Arab
Countries. Population and Development Review 18 (1): 33-60.
MRBF and UNDP
. 2012. Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011: Preparing Future Genera-
tions for the Knowledge Society. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Mohammed Bin Rashid
Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) and the United Nations Development Programme /
Regional Bureau for Arab States (UNDP/RBAS).
Transparency International
. 2013. Transparency International’s ›Global Corruption Baro-
meter 2013‹.
Yousif, H. M., A. Goujon and W. Lutz
. 1996. Future Population and Education Trends in
the Countries of North Africa. Research Report RR-96-11. Laxenburg, Austria: IIASA.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From:

AFJN

It is all because of interests of big business why Africa is held down – and this with the help of corrupt African Governments’ leaders.  If this continues – there is indeed no future for Africa. Foreign aid by old industrialized
Nations is wasted effort.


 

US aid to DR Congo: No more free rides for corrupt government officials!
Did you know your tax dollars are subsidizing corrupt bureaucrats in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? Instead of subsidizing millions of dollars in theft, fraud and unpaid taxes, the US should…
Read more

Herakles Farms must Stop Unjust Lawsuits Against a Cameroonian Activist
Herakles Farms, a US based agribusiness has filed a lawsuit against Mr. Nasako Besingi, a Cameroonian activist for defamation for peacefully protesting against the company’s grabbing of his ancestral land in South-West Cameroon. For the defamation case, the maximum penalty is 6 months imprisonment and $4,000 in fines, money he does not have.
Today, ask Mr. Patrick Jones to withdraw this lawsuit.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 13th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Jeff Sachs – (c) IIASA       Jeffrey D.Sachs

Jeffrey David Sachs (born November 5, 1954) is professor of economics and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. One of the youngest economics professors in the history of Harvard University (at age 28), Sachs became known for his role as an adviser to Eastern European and developing country governments during the transition from communism to a market system or during periods of economic crisis. Subsequently he has been known for his work on the challenges of economic development, environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, debt cancellation, and globalization.

 Sachs is Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Senior Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, having held the same position under former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project.  He has authored three New York Times bestsellers in the past seven years: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). His latest book is To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace.

Sachs is leader in sustainable development and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 80 countries.

 Now he teaches that the intertwined challenges of economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability must be addressed holistically, or else the world will find itself at dire risk of social instability and environmental calamity.  The path ahead is a narrow one, fraught with difficulties and uncertainties, yet the promise of a better life for billions of people is also realistic.  With proper policies and global cooperation, ours can be the era that ends extreme poverty, stabilizes the world’s population, and ushers in the exciting prospects of a new period of sustainable growth.  

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Some more about Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs:

Academic career

Sachs was raised in Oak Park, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, the son of Joan (née Abrams) and Theodore Sachs, a labor lawyer.
He attended Harvard College, where he received his B.A. summa cum laude in 1976. He went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, and was invited to join the Harvard Society of Fellows while still a Harvard graduate student. In 1980, he joined the Harvard faculty as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1982. A year later, at the age of 28, Sachs became a full professor of economics with tenure at Harvard – one of the youngest ever.

During the next 19 years at Harvard, he became the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development at the Kennedy School of Government (1995–1999), and director of the Center for International Development (1999–2002).

In 2002, Sachs became the Director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University. His classes are taught at the School of International and Public Affairs and the Mailman School of Public Health, and his course “Challenges of Sustainable Development” is taught at the undergraduate level.

In his capacity as director of the Earth Institute, he leads a university-wide organization of more than 850 professionals from natural-science and social-science disciplines, in support of sustainable development.

Sachs has consistently advocated for the expansion of university education on sustainable development, and helped to introduce the PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University, one of the first PhD programs of its kind in the U.S. He championed the new Masters of Development Practice (MDP), which has led to a consortium of major universities around the world offering the new degree. The Earth Institute has also guided the adoption of sustainable development as a new major at Columbia College. The Earth Institute is home to cutting-edge research on all aspects of earth systems and sustainable development.

Sachs’ policy and academic works span the challenges of globalization, and include: the relationship of trade and economic growth; the resource curse and extractive industries; public health and economic development; economic geography; strategies of economic reform; international financial markets; macroeconomic policy; global competitiveness; climate change; and the end of poverty. He has authored or co-authored hundreds of scholarly articles and several books, including three bestsellers and a textbook on macroeconomics that is widely used around the world.

In 2011, Sachs called for the creation of a third U.S. political party, the “Alliance for the Radical Center.

Advising in Latin America and post-communist economies:

Sachs is known for his work as an economic adviser to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. A trained macroeconomist, he advised a number of national governments in the transition from communism to market economies.

In 1985, Bolivia was undergoing hyperinflation and was unable to pay back its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Sachs, an economic adviser to the Bolivian government at the time, drew up an extensive plan, later known as shock therapy, to cut inflation drastically by liberalizing the Bolivian market, ending government subsidies, eliminating import quotas, and linking the Bolivian economy to the US dollar. After Sachs’s plan was implemented, inflation fell from 11,750% to 15% per year from 1985 to 1987.

In 1989, Sachs advised Poland’s anti-communist Solidarity movement and the Government of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. He wrote the first-ever comprehensive plan for the transition from central planning to a market economy, which became incorporated into Poland’s reform program led by Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz. Sachs was the main architect of Poland’s successful debt reduction operation. Sachs and IMF economist David Lipton advised the rapid conversion of all property and assets from public to private ownership. Closure of many uncompetitive factories ensued.  In Poland, Sachs was firmly on the side of rapid transition to “normal” capitalism. At first he proposed US-style corporate structures, with professional managers answering to many shareholders and a large economic role for stock markets. That did not fly with the Polish authorities, but he then proposed that large blocks of the shares of privatized companies be placed in the hands of private banks. As  a result, there were some economic shortages and inflation, but prices in Poland eventually stabilized.  The Government of Poland awarded Sachs with one of its highest honors in 1999, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Cracow University of Economics.

Sachs’ ideas and methods of transition from central planning were adopted throughout the transition economies. He advised Slovenia (1991) and Estonia (1992) in the introduction of new stable and convertible currencies. Based on Poland’s success, he was invited first by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and then by Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the transition to a market economy. He served as advisor to Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar and Finance Minister Boris Federov during 1991-93 on macroeconomic policies. He received the Leontief Medal of the Leontief Centre, St. Petersburg, for his contributions to Russia’s economic reforms.

Work on global sustainable economic development

More recently, Sachs has turned to global issues of economic development, poverty alleviation, health and aid policy, and environmental sustainability. He has written extensively on climate change, disease control, and globalization, and is one of the world’s leading experts on the fight against poverty and sustainable development.

Since 1995, Sachs has been deeply engaged in efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa. He has worked in more than two dozen African countries, and has advised the African leadership at several African Union summits. In the mid-1990s he worked with senior officials of the Clinton Administration to develop the concept of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). He has engaged with dozens of African leaders to promote smallholder agriculture and to fight high disease burdens through strengthened primary health systems. His pioneering ideas on investing in health to break the poverty trap have been widely applied throughout the continent. He currently serves as an advisor to several African governments, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, among others.

In his 2005 work, The End of Poverty, Sachs wrote “Africa’s governance is poor because Africa is poor.” According to Sachs, with the right policies and key interventions, extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1 a day — can be eradicated within 20 years. India and China serve as examples, with the latter lifting 300 million people out of extreme poverty during the last two decades. Sachs has said that a key element to accomplishing this is raising aid from $65 billion in 2002 to $195 billion a year by 2015. He emphasizes the role of geography and climate, as much of Africa is landlocked and disease-prone. However, he stresses that these problems can be overcome.

Sachs suggests that with improved seeds, irrigation, and fertilizer, the crop yields in Africa and other places with subsistence farming can be increased from 1 ton/hectare to 3-5 tons/hectares. He reasons that increased harvests would significantly increase the income of subsistence farmers, thereby reducing poverty. Sachs does not believe that increased aid is the only solution. He also supports establishing credit and microloan programs, which are often lacking in impoverished areas. Sachs has also advocated the distribution of free insecticide-treated bed nets to combat malaria. The economic impact of malaria has been estimated to cost Africa US$12 billion per year. Sachs estimates that malaria can be controlled for US$3 billion per year, thus suggesting that anti-Malaria projects would be an economically justified investment.

From 2002 to 2006, Sachs was the Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to then Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. Sachs founded the Millennium Villages Project, a plan dedicated to ending extreme poverty in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa through targeted agricultural, medical, and educational interventions. Along with philanthropist Ray Chambers, Sachs founded Millennium Promise, a nonprofit organization, to help the Earth Institute fund and operate the Millennium Villages Project.

The Millennium Villages Project, which he directs, operates in more than one dozen African countries, and covers more than 500,000 people. The MVP has achieved notable successes in raising agricultural production, reducing children’s stunting, and cutting child mortality rates, with the results described in several peer-reviewed publications. Its key concepts of integrated rural development to achieve the MDGs are now being applied at national scale in Nigeria and Mali, and are being used by many other countries to help support national anti-poverty programs. He works very closely with the Islamic Development Bank to scale up programs of integrated rural development and sustainable agriculture among the Bank’s member countries. One such project supports pastoralist communities in Eastern Africa, with six participating nations: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

Since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, Sachs has been the leading academic scholar and practitioner on the MDGs. He chaired the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (2000-1), which played a pivotal role in scaling up the financing of health care and disease control in the low-income countries to support MDGs 4, 5, and 6. He worked with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000-1 to design and launch the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He worked closely with senior officials of the George W. Bush administration to develop the PEPFAR program to fight HIV/AIDS, and the PMI to fight malaria. On behalf of Annan, from 2002-2006 he chaired the UN Millennium Project, which was tasked with developing a concrete action plan to achieve the MDGs. The UN General Assembly adopted the key recommendations of the UN Millennium Project at a special session in September 2005. The recommendations for rural Africa are currently being implemented and documented in the Millennium Villages, and in several national scale-up efforts such as in Nigeria.

Now a Special Adviser to current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Sachs is still a leading advocate for the Millennium Development Goals, frequently meeting with foreign dignitaries and heads of state. He has also become a close friend of international celebrities Bono and Angelina Jolie, both of whom have traveled to Africa with Sachs to witness the progress of the Millennium Villages.

In August 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which will mobilize scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable-development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. The Network convenes 12 global expert Thematic Groups on key sustainable development challenges that will identify common solutions and highlight best practices, and over time will launch projects to pilot or roll-out solutions to sustainable development challenges and assist countries in developing sustainable long-term development pathways.

Sachs has been a consistent critic of the IMF and its policies around the world. He has blasted the international bankers for what he sees as a pattern of ineffective investment strategies.

In Vienna, Sachs presented THE AGE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT as an unavoidable direction for the future of humanity and stated clearly that he is an optimist and knows that in the end we will move in the right direction.

 

Event Details

Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 18:00
The Aula of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (1010 Vienna, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2).

PRESENTED BY:

 

 


 The event was chaired jointly by Professor Pavel Kabat, the Director General of IIASA, Professor Anton Zeilinger – the institutional host, the President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – the location host, and Dr. Franz Fischler the President of the European Forum Alpbach of Austria.

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We heard an announcement about the creation of a new Think Tank based on the network that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon charged Professor Sachs to be its catalyst - that UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of institutions dispersed globally.  IIASA will organize one of these institutions and Professor Sachs will become in the future a more frequent visitor at IIASA. – perhaps IIASA will be a major locus for this Network. I understand that right the following day a small meeting at IIASA, with the participation of 10 people, will start on this endeavor.

THUS THE START OF A NEW PATH TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WITH THE UNDERSTANDING AND THE MANAGING OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS. Sachs pointed out that we proved to be so successful in extracting things and producing things that lead us to the present challenges – but these same qualities are also what will help us – - in the future – when applying them to reverse the present trend of self destruction by finding the right technologies that will move us in the right direction.

We are now the first generation that can bring havoc to the planet through our exploitation of it, but we will also be those that can apply the corrections. Sachs loves to quote President Kennedy who seems to be his idol – “Man holds in his hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life!” as per the January 20, 1963 Inaugural Address.

Sachs reminded us that 1692 billionaires (in dollars) hold  $6.3 trillion dollars in their possession – and this inequality is the great challenge we face. It is combined further with environmental and social issues. When the past century has raised the ocean level by 75 cm in New York City it was the poor that suffer most. He saw in the recent floods in New York that only the Goldman Sachs building was lit – this because they knew not to put the back-up generators in the basement – like all others did. Beijing that got its floods earlier, got now choked in smog – and the WHO advised people to stay indoors – think of the best economic development in history and now they have the worst air and water.

Professor Sachs went on to look at the Middle East and at Syria in particular. He drew intersecting circles for Social Systems (dynamics), the Economy (Techno-Economy), Earth Systems and Governance and pointed out how countries that lived in peace for centuries with the different population groups side-by-side were now at each other’s throat. He suggested to take the temperature of the social trust of societies. Then to analyze governance of the political system and the business system – eventually to look at political governance – and to see how this impacts on the stress.

Sachs looked at the US-Saudi-Turkey line-up vs. the Russia-Iran line up in regard to Syria – then looked at Mega-droughts and Sectarian Divisions – crops fail and reduce human security.

Complex systems have pivot points – the world does not care if poor hungry people when facing calamity tend to find a way out via migration – and disease, epidemics, violence – unrest can happen quickly. To bring home his points Professor Sachs showed us the map of the Middle East droughts and we saw how it fits also the violence patterns.

Looking closer to home – to the US – Professor Sachs sees there the lack of “Points of View” – it could be dangerous for politicians to have a point of view, he said. We need planning in the US – but after the Soviet Union was gone the belief in the US seems to be that planning is a NO! NO! Markets are great institutions for distribution – but they do not plan.

Power can come from investing in young people. He also found that bad experience of parents can be passed to children – 2 generations down – and we do not understand how – but it is real he said.

Professor Sachs advocated that every country needed an energy plan – a strategy – it need not be the same. We destroy land, acidify water and lead to extinction of species – 30% of the world food is lost in transmission from farms to consumers. He mentioned the power of Hedge Funds but pointed out that 0.7% of the income on earth could help close the gap with the poor. He kept stressing that Wellbeing is not measured by GDP.

People want to live in societies that have social support systems.

Professor Sachs turned back to his Idol – President Kennedy and said that equal compliments deserved also Mr. Nikita Khrushchev, when the two went ahead with the partial nuclear treaty and said that the need was to have the Americans to change themselves and not just to try to change the world of their adversaries. Kennedy and Krushev were partners and both had opponents among the extremes in their systems.

Kennedy said: Let us not be blind to our differences but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved.

So, now – let us end poverty by 2030 – we know people are up to this challenge.

The most important vocabulary is built with the words – Poverty, Economy, Inclusion, Health, Food, Cities, and ENERGY/CLIMATE, Biodiversity, Governance – of which is built the  SDNS Action Plan, 2013.

 

Illustrative SDGs:

1.
End Extreme Poverty Including
Hunger
POVERTY

2.
Achieve
Growth and Jobs
within Planetary
Boundaries
ECONOMY

3.
Effective Education for
All Children and Youth for Life and
Livelihood
EDUCATION

4.
Achieve Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Human Rights for
All
INCLUSION

5.
Achieve Health and Wellbeing at All
Ages
HEALTH

6.
Improve Agricultural Systems and Rural
Productivity
FOOD

7.
Empower Inclusive, Productive, and Resilient
Cities
CITIES

8.
Curb
Climate
Change and Ensure Sustainable
Energy
ENERGY/CLIMATE

9.
Secure Ecosystem
Services, Biodiversity, Water, Natural Resources
BIODIVERSITY

10. Transform Government for Sustainable Development
GOVERNANCE

 

The Kennedy goal to put a man on the moon in a decade can be the inspiration for goals like “Save the Planet,” “Save other Species” …  WE ALL BREATH THE SAME AIR, WE ALL CHERISH OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE, AND WE ARE ALL MORTAL  (JFK, June 10, 1963).

 

Main points of the presentartion:
 www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/ev…

——————–

CONTACT DETAILS:

Pavel Kabat

IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer Directorate

T +43(0) 2236 807 402

Claudia Heilig-Staindl

Executive Assistant Directorate

T +43(0) 2236 807 266

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) – Schlossplatz 1 – A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 – Fax: (+43 2236) 71 313 – info@iiasa.ac.at

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 6th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

David Weisberg
Chief Executive Officer, Hazon
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, 116 Johnson Road, Falls Village, CT 06031
 

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 1st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

CIFNews
Administrative Unit,
Climate Investment Funds

T: 1.202.458.1801 | F: 1.202.522.2937 |
 cifnews@worldbank.org
1818 H St. NW, Washington D.C. 20433

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Recent updates to the CIF Voices (blogs), videos  and news articles on CIF projects:

Snakes, Tomatoes, and Other Take Aways from the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on the GCF
Martha Stein-Sochas, CIF AU, Feb 26
Last week at the Asia-Pacific Dialogue on the Green Climate Fund (GCF), I heard many helpful suggestions and ideas from private sector participants on the GCF’s future Private Sector Facility, which aims to provide financing for climate action in the private sector.  But no advice was more powerful than that of Paul Needham, President and Co-founder of Simpa Networks, who related to us the need to move quickly, take risks, and be catalytic.

Lessons from the field on CIF results monitoring and reporting
Emmanuel Kouadio, CIF AU, Feb 14
For the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), understanding the tangible results of its funding is essential to learning and accountability. It has been no small task to make monitoring and reporting (M&R) a reality across the four programs and 48 countries that comprise the CIF. But this year, 2014, all CIF pilot countries will report on results and annually thereafter.

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World Bank, Government of Samoa Launch Climate Resilience Program
World Bank, February 6
“The World Bank is committed to helping small island states manage pressing risks from natural disasters and climate change,” said Drees-Gross. “Through the Climate Investment Funds, we are proud to support Samoa in critical efforts to increase the resilience of coastal communities and infrastructure, which could help protect their very survival as well as long-term development.”
Keeping Partnership Strong as PPCR Planning Turns to Action in Samoa
Litara Taulealo, Ministry of Finance, Samoa, Feb 18
Last week the government of Samoa and the World Bank announced the launch of a new project to support climate change adaptation measures for coastal communities. Our Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Coastal Resources and Communities Project, supported by $14.6 million from the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), will assist 45,000 Samoans in coastal communities in adapting to climate change and climate variability, protect coastal infrastructure, and increase awareness about climate change impacts and adaptation activities among communities, civil society, and government entities.

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Drawing lessons from Turkey’s energy use, emissions and fuel mix
Sandy Ferguson, EBRD, Feb 5
One thing jumps out when looking at the Turkish Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (TurSEFF) report: with the right combination of financing, one can achieve substantial changes in energy use, emissions, and fuel mix in middle income countries.

Transforming Waste to Energy in Nepal
Nepal is part of the larger effort to expand energy access and markets for renewable energy in the world’s poorest countries. Today, Nepal is using SREP to develop large-scale commercial, institutional, and municipal bioenergy projects

Menengai Geothermal Power Plant in Kenya
Africa Express stopped in Kenya to learn more about geothermal power development at Menengai. SREP $25 million is supporting development of Menengai which envisions 120 wells injecting 400 megawatts of electricity into the national grid

AfDB facilitates private sector finance for climate-readiness in Niger, Mozambique and Zambia
AfDB, February 26
Over US $30 million in concessional funds has been made available for innovative private sector projects that seek to improve climate change adaptation or readiness in Niger, Mozambique and Zambia. This financing is part of the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), a financing window of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)

Open Call to Private Sector
CIF AU, Feb 20
Access over $65 million in concessional financing set aside for innovative private sector projects in PPCR and SREP pilot countries. Proposals being accepted until March 31 (SREP) and April 30 (PPCR). Read more.

Rooted in Learning, Growing with Results
CIF AU, February 17
2013 was a year of growth for the CIF. The 2013 CIF Annual Report highlights emerging results, key lessons learned, and the momentum we are building for climate-smart development.

USELF Boosts Ukraine’s Renewable Energy Sector
EBRD, February 14
The first phase of the EBRD’s Ukraine Sustainable Energy Lending Facility (USELF) will deliver 200 GWh of renewable energy through an innovative combination of EBRD commercial financing, dedicated technical assistance support and

AfDB affirms its support for Power Africa, with a commitment of more than US $600 million
AfDB, February 13
In addition, under the aegis of the Climate Investment Funds, the Bank has led work on the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Investment Plan for Tanzania and prepared jointly with the World Bank the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Investment Plan for Liberia. This will lead to projects in both countries.

AfDB supports Ghana local communities with $14.55 million to reduce deforestation
AfDB, February 4
The project, called Engaging Local Communities in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) /Enhancement of Carbon Stocks, benefits from the support from the Climate Investment Funds’ (CIF) Forest Investment Program (FIP).  It will directly benefit 12,000 people, half of them women, by providing capacity building, seeds and equipment, and financial incentives through benefit-sharing agreements to develop forestry, agroforestry and alternative livelihoods. The project will also indirectly benefit 175,000 people in the two regions.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 19th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Morocco to invest $11 billion in clean energy

In a statement to Al-Hayat, Moroccan sources declared that “electricity-generating solar and wind energy projects, implemented by Morocco in several regions in the east and south of the country, with investments worth approximately 90 billion dirhams [$11 billion], will allow Rabat to turn from an importer into an exporter of alternative energy by 2020, through building five solar energy stations.”

Oil and oil-derivatives importation cost Rabat $13 billion in 2013. Energy subsidies currently cost around 35 billion dirhams in the local market, compared to 54 billion in 2012. This negatively affects the trade balance, the overall financial balance and the budget deficit, estimated at 6% of the gross domestic product.

Sources reported that nine gigawatts of new energy would be produced, a 20% increase over current production, thus supplying around 42% of thermal electricity. 

“We will have an electricity and energy surplus that can be sold to other close countries, particularly in Europe and Africa. This is currently happening in the energy grid between Algeria and Spain,” the sources added.

Energy exports will contribute to improving the trade balance and increasing Rabat’s hard currency resources, thus boosting development. Sources believe that scientific research in the field of future energies constitutes one of the options within the project, just like modern industries in the field of automotives, airplanes and smartphones, in which Morocco is a regional pioneer.

Saudi Power Energy International Group is building the first solar energy station in Morocco at a cost of over $900 million. The station will become operational in 2015. Other proposals are underway to build a second station with an overall production of 500 million megawatts in the city suburbs. Upon project completion, Morocco will become the Arab and Middle Eastern country that uses clean energies the most at the beginning of the next decade.

The Moroccan sources considered Rabat capable of ensuring the funding to build all wind and solar energy units because they are part of a strategic high-priority plan. Algeria is pressuring some parties that are supporting the Moroccan project about the funding of some energy stations in the desert. Sources related the cause to “regional political conflicts.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheldin Mizwar said that Rabat “has received the needed financial, political and technical support for such strategic projects. There are no funding problems because some states and international and regional financial groups are supporting the solar energy project in Morocco.”

American Forbes magazine wrote, “Giant companies working in the field of energy in North Africa have shown interest in the solar energy project in Morocco. They are excited to expand their activities and might even transfer some of their activity from Algeria, Libya and Egypt to Morocco. The companies pointed out that the Algerian-Moroccan dispute did not affect the decisions of international companies.”

“The problem of funding will not deter Morocco from its ambitious project that is backed by European countries, the Gulf and the United States, in addition to China and Japan, which encourage solar energy,” Forbes added.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated, along with King Mohammed VI, in the launch ceremony of the solar energy project in November 2009 in Ouarzazate in the south. The United States renewed its support for these projects during the summit, which brought together US President Barack Obama and the king of Morocco at the end of 2013 in the White House.

Rabat is looking forward to becoming a source of clean energy and collecting extra treasury returns, estimated to range between $7 billion and $10 billion, by 2021. It is also hoping to increase its oil and gas revenues — a prospect that is surrounded by extreme secrecy, although major discoveries of fossil energy have been unveiled. British and Australian companies have dug wells in several Moroccan regions, thereby confirming these discoveries.

On the other hand, government sources confirmed to Al-Hayat that the government will lift subsidies and will gradually liberalize the hydrocarbons sector in 2014. It has already lifted fuel and gasoline subsidies and intends to do the same for all hydrocarbons that are subsidized by the compensation fund. Moreover, the government is seeking to channel a portion of these expenses to poor groups whose classification is a subject of dispute among different political parties in the government.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 18th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Yingli And SolarAid Light Up African School

 

 

by Energy Matters of February 7, 2014

Yingli - SolarAid
Yingli Green Energy and SolarAid joined forces to help Mayukwayukwa High School in Kaoma, Zambia harness the power of the sun.
  
Donated by Yingli Solar and its partners through SolarAid, the system is large enough to meet the lighting requirements of the 600 student school; plus provides cell phone charging for the entire community.
   
“The solar lighting lengthens learning hours, improves education quality and reduces dependence on expensive and toxic kerosene lamps,” said Richard Turner, Chief Fundraiser at SolarAid.
  
The new high school is located in one of Africa’s oldest refugee camps – the Mayukwayukwa Settlement – and was constructed under a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) program.
  
Less than 10% of rural sub-Saharan Africans have access to electricity and families can spend up to a quarter of their income on kerosene for lighting. Kerosene lamps are carbon intensive and are also known to cause respiratory disease in households where they are heavily used. Africans spend billions a year on kerosene and while the fossil fuel may provide light, it also reinforces poverty.
   
“Bringing clean safe light to communities in Africa helps create brighter and better futures for students and families currently living without electricity,” said Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy; the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels.
  
SolarAid has set a goal of ridding the continent of kerosene lamps by 2020 and replacing them with clean power sources; improving the health, education and wealth of Africa’s 110 million households currently living without access to electricity.
  
SolarAid’s focus is the distribution of solar lights that cost as little as $10, pay for themselves after 12 weeks and last for five years.
  
“Quality, compact solar lights increase people’s income by an average of 20% per month,” states the SolarAid web site.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from:  english@other-news.info
date:  Mon, Feb 17, 2014

[]

Syrian rebels or international terrorists?
 
Vijay Prashad* – The Hindu
*Vijay Prashad is the Edward Said Chair at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.
 
With Bashar Assad arguing that this is a war against terrorism, and the rebels arguing that this is a war against authoritarianism, no agreement can come of the peace talks on Syria.
Geneva 2’s mood mirrored the sound of mortar and despair on the ground in Syria. Not much of substance came of the former, as the U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi tiredly indicated that diplomacy continued despite the lack of a breakthrough. He hoped that the United States and the Russians would pressure their clients to remain at the table, from where, for three weeks, little of value has emerged. No agreement can come of these peace talks for at least two reasons. First, the government of Bashar Assad and the rebel coalition do not agree on the interpretation of the conflict. Mr. Assad argues that this is a war against terrorism (Al-Qaeda), while the rebels argue that this is a war against authoritarianism (the Assad government). Second, the rebels themselves are deeply fractured, with the Islamists in Syria who are doing the brunt of the fighting indisposed to any peace talks.
 
Mr. Brahimi hoped that humanitarian relief would be the glue to hold the two sides together. Residents in the old city of Homs and in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Yarmouk in Damascus have been under siege for two years. It was hoped that safe passage could be provided for food and medicine, but this was not accomplished. U.N. and Islamic Red Cross workers bravely avoided snipers and shells to transport food and medicines to the Syrians; children among them stared at fresh fruit, unsure of what to do with it. Absent momentum from Geneva, the options for a regional solution are back on the table.
 
Role for India, China?
 
In 2012, Egypt convened the Syria Contact Group that comprised Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — unlikely partners. Pressure from the U.S. and Russia at that time closed down the Group. Today, the regional partners seek an exit from their exaggerated postures over Syria, but there is no diplomatic space for them to act. It falls to powers that are untainted by the war, perhaps China and India, to call for a meeting — a Beijing or New Delhi summit — to craft a serious agenda to pressure all sides to a ceasefire and a credible political process.
 
The war is now fought less on the ground and more over its interpretation. Expectations of a hasty collapse of the government withdraw as the Syrian Army takes Jarajir, along the Lebanon border. Islamists groups continue to fight against each other in the north, weakening their firepower as the Syrian army watches from the sidelines. The emboldened Syrian government has now stepped up its rhetoric about this war being essentially one against terrorists with affiliation to al-Qaeda. Ears that once rejected this narrative in the West and Turkey are now increasingly sympathetic to it. As the Islamists suffocate the rebellion, it becomes hard to champion them against the government. Focus has moved away from the prisons and barrel bombs of the government to the executions and social policies of the Islamists.
 
A year ago, the West and Turkey would have scoffed at talk of terrorism as the fantasy of the Assad government. The West and the Gulf Arabs had opened their coffers to the rebels, knowing full well that they were incubating the growth of the Islamist factions at the expense of the secular opposition. Turkey’s government of Recep Tayyip Erdog?an micromanaged the opposition, provided bases in Turkey and allowed well-armed fighters to slip across the border into Syria. By early 2012, it had become a common sight to see well-armed Islamist fighters in the streets of Antakya and in the refugee camps in Hatay Province. The seeds of what was to come — the entry of al-Qaeda into Syria — was set by an opportunistic and poorly conceived policy by Erdog?an’s government. It did not help that his otherwise well-spoken and highly-regarded Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutog?lu began to refer to Syria’s Alawites (Mr. Assad’s community) as Nusayri, a derogatory sectarian term. Turkey joined U.S., Europe and Gulf Arab calls for Mr. Assad’s departure well before the numbers of those dead climbed above the thousands. Nervousness about the spread of al-Qaeda to Syria has made the rebels’ patrons edge closer to the Damascus narrative. The U.S. government wishes to arm the Iraqi government with Hellfire missiles and drones to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Britain has said that any fighter who comes back from Syria will be arrested (last week, a Sussex man — Abu Suleiman al-Britani — conducted a suicide operation in Aleppo). The Saudi Royal Court decreed that any Saudi found to have waged jihad abroad could spend up to 20 years in prison.
 
General Mansour al-Turki of the Saudi Interior Ministry said: “We are trying to stop everyone who wants to go to Syria, but we can’t stop leaks.” The Turkish Armed Forces fired on an ISIS convoy on January 28 inside Syria, and told the government in a report prepared jointly with the Turkish National Intelligence agency that al-Qaeda had made credible threats on Turkey.
Mr. Erdog?an hastened to Tehran to meet the new Iranian leadership — their public comments were on trade, but their private meetings were all on Syria and the need to combat the rise of terrorism. What Mr. Assad had warned about in 2012 came to pass — for whatever reason — and led to a loss of confidence among the rebels’ patrons for their future. Even al-Qaeda’s putative leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has sought to distance himself from ISIS. These signs indicate that on Syria, the “terrorism narrative” has come to dominate over the “authoritarian regime narrative.”
 
Islamic Front:
 
The fractious Syrian opposition that came to Geneva does not represent the main columns of rebel fighters on the ground. These are mainly Islamists — with the al-Qaeda wing represented by ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and the rest represented by the Islamic Front. They have no appetite for negotiation. Mr. Abu Omar of the Islamic Front said that Syria’s future would be created “here on the ground of heroism, and signed with blood on the frontlines, not in hollow conferences attended by those who don’t even represent themselves.” A U.S. intelligence official told me that when the U.S. went into Afghanistan in 2001, “We smashed the mercury and watched it spread out slowly in the area.” Al-Qaeda was not demolished in Kandahar and Tora Bora. Its hardened cadre slipped across to Pakistan and then onwards to their homelands. There they regrouped, reviving the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, al-Qaeda in Yemen, Ansar al-Sharia, Ansar Dine, and ISIS. The latter slipped into Syria from an Iraq broken by the U.S. occupation and the sectarian governance of the current government. There they worked with Jabhat al-Nusra and fought alongside other Islamist currents such as Ahrar ash-Sham. It was inevitable that these battle-tested Islamists would overrun the peaceful protesters and the defectors from the Syrian Army — the Free Syrian Army (FSA) — who scattered to the wind in 2012.
 
The FSA troops either joined up with the Islamists, continued to fight in small detachments, or linger precariously as twice defectors who are now homeless. The barbarism of the ISIS pushed other Islamists — with Gulf Arab support — to form the Islamic Front. The hope was that this group would run ISIS back to Iraq and remove the stigma of “al-Qaeda” from the Syrian rebellion. The problem is that one of the constituents of the Islamic Front — Jabhat al-Nusra, arguably the most effective of its fighting forces — sees itself as the Syrian franchise of al-Qaeda and has largely abjured the fight against ISIS. Another problem is that the in-fighting on the ground seems to have tapered off — one of the Islamist groups, Suqour al-Sham signed a truce with ISIS and pledged to work together.
 
By early 2014, these groups found their supply lines cut off.  Iraq’s attack on ISIS began to seal the porous border that runs through the Great Syrian Desert.  Jordan had already tried to close its border since early 2013, having arrested over a hundred fighters who have tried to cross into Syria.  Lebanon’s border has become almost inaccessible for the rebels as the Syrian Army takes the roadway that runs along the boundary line.  Last year, Turkey closed the Azaz crossing once it was taken over by the radical Islamists.
 
On January 20, the rebels attacked the Turkish post at Cilvegözü-Bab al-Hawa, killing 16.  This is what spurred the Turkish Army to attack the ISIS convoy a week later.
 
As the Islamists saw their supply lines closed off, the U.S. announced that it would restart its aid to the rebel fighters.  On February 5, the Syrian Coalition chief Ahmad Jabra told Future TV that his rebels would get “advanced weapons” — likely from the U.S.  The FSA announced the formation of the Southern Front – with assistance from the West — to revive the dormant fight in Syria’s south-west.  All this took place during Geneva 2, signalling confusion in U.S. policy.       Does Washington still want to overthrow the Syrian government?  Would it live with an Islamist government on Israel’s borders?  Or, perhaps, the U.S. is eager for a stalemate, as pointed out by former CIA analyst Bruce Riedel, “The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad.  The regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion.  Both sides’ external allies are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future.”  This is a cruel strategy.
It offers no hope of peace for the Syrian people.
 
Road ahead for Syria group:
 
A senior military official in West Asia told me that one of the most overlooked aspects of West Asia and North Africa is that the military leaderships of each country maintain close contacts with each other. During Turkey’s war against the Kurdish rebellion in its eastern provinces, the military coordinated their operations with the Syrian armed forces. These links have been maintained. When it became clear that Mr. Erdog?an’s exaggerated hopes for Syria failed, and with the growth of the Islamists on Turkey’s borders and the Kurds in Syria having declared their independence, the Turkish military exerted its views. The Iraqi armed forces had already begun their operations against ISIS. Additionally, Egypt’s new Field Marshal Sisi overthrew the government of Mohamed Morsi when the latter encouraged jihadis to go to Syria. This was anathema to the Egyptian military who acted for this and other reasons to depose Mr. Morsi. The military view of the political situation leans naturally toward the terrorism narrative.
 
It appears now that the regional states are no longer agreed that their primary mission is the removal of Mr. Assad.This view — shared by the militaries — is evident in the political leadership in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey.With Egypt, these three states would be the core of a rejuvenated Syria Contact Group.

The 2012 group also had Saudi Arabia, which might be enjoined to come back to the table if they see that their outside allies — notably the U.S. — are averse to a policy that would mean Jabhat al-Nusra in power in Damascus.

Without Saudi Arabia, and perhaps even Qatar, the Syria Contact Group would be less effective.

 
If the Syria Contact Group is to re-emerge, it would need to be incubated by pressure from China and India, two countries that are sympathetic to multipolar regionalism.
 
Thus far, neither China nor India has taken an active role in the Syrian conflict, content to work within the United Nations and to make statements as part of the BRICS group.
But the failure of the U.S. and Russia and the paralysis of the U.N. alongside the continued brutality in Syria require an alternative path to be opened up.
Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have indicated willingness for a dialogue — China and India need to offer them the table.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Green Prophet Headlines – El Gouna: Egypt builds MENA’s first carbon-neutral city

Link to Green Prophet

 


 

El Gouna: Egypt builds MENA’s first carbon-neutral city

 

Posted: 15 Feb 2014 09:23 PM PST

 

el gouna carbon neutral city EgyptEl Gouna, a resort city on Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera, is set to become the first carbon-neutral city in that nation, in Africa, and likely the entire Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. Masdar City, in continuing development in Abu Dhabi, initially targeted zero-carbon status, but has yet to hit that goal.
Image of El Gouna from Shutterstock

 

The ambitious development agreement was signed last week by the Egyptian Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs, the Italian Ministry of Environment and El Gouna City.

 

Dr. Laila Iskandar, Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, told Trade Arabia, “This agreement will help the Egyptian government to achieve a significant breakthrough in the fields of environment and tourism, enhancing Egypt’s global image and opening the door for Egyptian tourism projects and cities to rank among the leading carbon-neutral entities.”

 

El Gouna is already hailed as Egypt’s most environmentally-friendly vacation destination.  It’s captured Green Globe and Travelife certifications and was selected as the pilot location for the Green Star Hotel Initiative (GSHI).

 

Launched in 2007, GSHI is a cooperative effort between public and private sectors, the Egyptian and German tourism industries, and supported by key technical consultants.  They promote use of environmental management systems and environmentally sound operations to improve environmental performance and to increase competitiveness of the Egyptian hotel industry.

 

Priority projects include conservation of natural resources such as clean beaches, healthy marine life and protected areas, which are the backbone of the Red Sea Riviera and the nation’s eco-tourism market.

 

Mr. Hisham Zaazou, Egyptian Minister of Tourism, told Trade Arabia, “We will also be working on implementing this project in other Egyptian cities.”

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 15th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Green Prophet Headlines – BrightSource’s Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal project, is live

Link to Green Prophet

BrightSource’s Ivanpah, the world’s largest solar thermal project, is live

Posted: 14 Feb 2014

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

It has been a long, controversial and expensive road for BrightSource Energy, but their 392 megawatt concentrating solar plant is now finally delivering renewable energy to the California grid and it is the largest plant of its kind in the world.

Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System (ISEGS), which is comprised of 350,000 garage door-sized mirrors that reflect sunlight onto boilers atop 40 foot towers, is jointly owned by NRG Solar, Google and BrightSource Energy
a company that started out at Luz International in Israel.

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

In addition to offsetting roughly 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, the massive solar facility located roughly 50 miles northwest of Needles, California, will deliver solar power to roughly 140,000 homes via California utility companies PG&E and Southern California Edison.

Despite this enormous boost for solar energy, BrightSource Energy has taken a lot of heat from environmentalists and social activists for their five square mile solar project in the Mojave desert.

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

It took months to resolve the issue of relocating desert tortoises that call the desert home, to make way for thousands of concentrating mirrors, and Native Americans complained that the project destroys sites that are sacred to them.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the towers, which reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, have scorched an astonishing number of birds.

The paper also notes that the energy produced at Ivanpah will cost four times as much as natural gas and boasts a smaller generation capacity to land ratio than conventional plants. In other words, CSP projects like ISEGS require more land than fossil fuel plants.

BrightSource, Ivanpah, California, Mojave Desert, US Solar Projects, clean tech, concentrating solar energy, ISEGS, world's largest solar thermal plant, PG&E, NRG Solar, Google, Southern California Edison, renewable energy,

Despite these downsides, the $2.2 billion plant will produce one third of all solar thermal energy in the United States, and potentially pave the way for similar projects to take flight as well.

:: WSJ

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

FROM THE AL MONITOR OF FEBRUARY 15, 2014

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Published Beirut, Lebanon Established 1974

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Bahraini opposition holds conference in Beirut.

“Ongoing violations and constant impunity”: such was the cry adopted as a slogan this year by the Third International Conference on Human Rights in Bahrain. This was a cry addressed to the international community, following three years of unending suffering for the people of Bahrain. Tomorrow [Feb. 14], Bahrainis are commemorating the anniversary of the start of their uprising with protests that will fill the streets of Bahrain. These protests were called for two weeks ago by opposition political organizations. The conference began its activities yesterday [Feb. 12] at the Coral Beach Hotel in Beirut, in the presence of political and human rights dignitaries, with a short film that recounted the story of the “Bahraini revolution” from Feb. 14, 2011, until today. The film illustrated the peaceful nature of the movement, despite the continued repression exercised by the government.

Summary? Print As the third anniversary of the Bahrain uprising approaches, opposition activists are holding a conference in Beirut to draw the attention to the human rights abuses carried out by the Bahraini regime.
Author Ali Shukair Posted February 13, 2014

Translator(s)Kamal Fayad

The first speaker was conference Chairman Youssef Rabih, who’s also the head of the Bahrain Forum for Human Rights and who substantiated the continued violation of Bahraini human rights and the arbitrary arrests of activists. He criticized the government for its violation of the Convention Against Torture, to which it was one of the first signatories.

In an interview with As-Safir concerning the practical measures that the conference will adopt to limit such transgressions, Rabih said: “The Bahraini rights dossier will be the subject of added focus at this stage. The Bahraini government was forced to acquiesce and allow a visit by the United Nations assessment team to Bahrain.” He also indicated that “the presence of the assessment team will mean better monitoring of and more pressure on the Bahraini regime in the coming phase.”

He added, “The open dialogue in Bahrain today is the culmination of international pressure exercised on the Bahraini government, which must be held accountable for its crimes against humanity.”

Concerning the Bahraini crown prince’s call for holding negotiations, Rabih asserted to As-Safir: “Inside the Bahraini regime, there exist competing factions. It would seem that the crown prince received support from non-Arab countries to open up to the opposition; this, in addition to him receiving a prerequisite Saudi green light. In this coming phase, Bahrainis must continue [their movement], and so they shall.”

At the conference, several Bahraini, Arab and foreign jurists took to the podium in succession. Most prominent among them was the principal partner in the conference, lawyer Mohamed al-Tajer, the head of the Bahraini Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Tajer expressed surprise at the manner by which the international community was dealing with the Bahraini [opposition] movement, and that international parties were turning a blind eye to the violations against prisoners of conscience, children and women.

Tajer spoke with As-Safir about the practical measures that will be undertaken by people concerned with the Bahraini situation, to mark the third anniversary of the movement. He said, “Preparations are ongoing and varied, to combat the government’s abuses. In addition to this conference, we have colleagues in Britain, Washington and Geneva who are attending symposia, presenting papers and cooperating with international organizations and lawyers sympathetic to the Bahraini cause. This is to put pressure aimed at holding accountable those responsible for these crimes and violations.”

Tajer reiterated the demand for an international controller from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to deal with the Bahraini issue. “We demand that this controller be given the widest authority, not only to offer technical aid — as the government desires — but to combat the violations, submit reports about them and put a stop to them.” He also demanded that “a special session be held by the Human Rights Council, to condemn the Bahraini government, as was the case in other countries.”

During the conference, a speech was given on behalf of the high commissioner of the United Nations, as well as Amnesty International. Noteworthy was the presence of two prominent foreign personalities interested in the Bahraini cause, namely British lawyer Pete Weatherby, and American lawyer Abby Jules. The latter strongly criticized the political arrests carried out by the regime, and affirmed that she would be presenting this issue before the American court of public opinion, as well as Congress.

At the end of the conference, the “always present absentee” lawyer and human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, whose brainchild the event was, was presented with a shield of honor that a representative accepted — and a video clip dedicated to him was shown.

It’s worth mentioning that the conference continues today, from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., where several issues will be addressed. In addition, there will be interactive sessions with several activists, followed by a final statement and recommendations.

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Sudan opposition: Bashir hosting Egyptian Brotherhood leaders.

Alaa el-Din Abdel Rahman, leader of the Tamarod movement in Sudan, said, “Sudan’s Tamarod movement existed before Egypt’s Tamarod movement, which was recently in the spotlight.

The movement in Sudan was in fact formed five years ago, before the Arab Spring revolutions, and it included youth groups that were created in the streets and resembled a popular revolution. However, we did not get much attention due to the lack of media coverage. This resulted from the tyranny of the regime, which imposed censorship on the media, thus pushing the leaders of the movement to go to Egypt.

Summaryt In an interview with Azzaman, the head of Sudan’s Tamarod movement, Alaa el-Din Abdel Rahman, contends that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is hosting fugitive members of Egypt’s Brotherhood.
Author Mustafa Amara Posted February 7, 2014

Translator(s)Pascale Menassa

“There, we called ourselves the Sudanese Tamarod movement for our name to echo in the Arab and Islamic worlds. We also took with us to Cairo the media and foreign relations files and coordinated with the opposition. When the September incidents took place, we were not expecting the regime to be this violent with the protesters. Over three days, the regime killed 350 people and arrested 2,150 others, not to mention the ones who ‘disappeared.’”

Abdel Rahman told Azzaman that everyone agrees on toppling the regime, uniting the opposition, forming a consensual transitional government and bringing back the 1956 constitution. In response to a question about the mechanisms adopted to achieve these goals, he said, “We will take it to the streets, protest and coordinate with the reliable people of some political parties. We will steer clear of parties like the Democratic Union Party and the Umma Party, which concluded deals with the ruling regime to share the pie, irrespective of the interests of the Sudanese people.”

Abdel Rahman clarified, in statements to Azzaman, “Some of the youth in the movement asked to carry weapons, in response to the regime’s oppressive measures led against us. Yet, we refused and insisted on maintaining the peaceful aspect of our protests so as not to give the regime the chance to distort our image.”

Some believe that the Sudanese Tamarod movement is not really present in the Sudanese street. Abdel Rahman denied these statements and said that they are constantly repeated by the ruling regime or by the opposition that is allied with this regime.

“In fact, our youth have been in the streets for 10 years. They protested in the streets in September 2013, and most of them were the movement’s youth. Unfortunately, the media sides with the regime in its coverage,” he added.

Abdel Rahman confirmed to Azzaman that they are coordinating with the Egyptian Tamarod movement.

“When I arrived to Cairo to escape the tyranny of the Sudanese government, we contacted the Egyptian Tamarod movement, which offered us moral support. The movement allowed us to use its headquarters, and we are still coordinating,” he noted.

Regarding rumors that the Egyptian organizations are supporting the Sudanese Tamarod movement to pressure the Sudanese government, Abdel Rahman told Azzaman, “These are lies repeated by the regime to distort our image. We do not have any capacities to do so. The best proof is that we did not have cameras during the September protests, and we relied on our mobile phones to take videos. Where would we get the funding from?”

He also revealed that the Sudanese regime had strong relationships with former President Mohammed Morsi’s regime. When the June 30 Revolution took place, the regime hosted several Brotherhood leaders. Sudan became a route for smuggling weapons to Egyptian members of the opposition. There are, indeed, arsenals that are funded by Iran, as the Sudanese regime has strong relations with this country. The latter supplies Sudan with weapons and provides huge investments. The Sudanese regime is also working on implementing Iran’s agenda in the Horn of Africa
Read more: www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2014/02/sudan-tamarod-movement-interview-bashir-brotherhood.html#ixzz2tJOJyY00

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 13th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Peace Islands Institute, Journalists and Writers Foundation, Ambassadors Se
Africa Panel, Peace Islands Institute Journalists and Writers FoundationThe Peace Islands Institute – driven by the JWF  tried yesterday its hand at the above by letting African Ambassadors to the UN state their case – but then when the questions came from the floor it became obvious that representatives of the African Governments to the UN just are not the right people to devise the right solutions.


Ms.  Sharene Louise Bailey, with a UN flag in front of her, was the moderator. She is Charge d’Affaires for politcal affairs at the African Union Observer Mission to the UN in New York.

Her panel included – in order of them speaking – Ambassador Dr. Mamadou Tangara of Gambia, Dr. T.A. Elias-Fatile, Senior Councellor for General Assembly Affairs representing Ambassador Professor U. Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, Ambassador Dr. Richard Nduhuura of Uganda, Ambassador      of South Africa,  The Ambassador from Mozambique was scheduled, could not make it, and so the unscheduled Ambassador from South Africa took over that slot. Also unanounced – for a short appearance we listened to Mageed A.Abdelaziz, United Nations Secretary-General‘s Special Adviser on Africa at the level of Under-Secretary-General. He was an Egyptian diplomat who had been Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations since January 2005 – he left after his presentation.

The 1990 were discussed – the conflicts – the genocides of 1994 – the Convention to Combat African corruption and the talk of an Agenda of Sustainable Development. The Ambassador for Gambia, an academic Social Economist – reminded the audience that Kenya was ahead of south Korea and where are they now? I admire South Korea ad am angree about Kenya, he said. The source of the conflicts are the riches of natural resources – take Liberia, Sierra Leone he said – we had mercenaries taking the diamonds. Unfortunately we see ourselves through the eyes of others – even in education we need money from the outside and they ask us to “put in things we want you to put in” – he said.

The talk is about Nation Building and the outsiders think they know more then the Africans themselves

The Ugandan spoke of African ownership, the South African about regional integration -  then why does an Egyptian advise the UN Secretary-General on Africa – we ask?

Ms. Bailey asked – how do we Africans see ourselves this day when we say African Solutions for African Problems? Sharing lessons among ourselves – What have we achieved for Africans? Success issues of peace Keeping in Somalia? Investments? – How to get it?  The naked ingredients for peace  The promotion of regional cooperation with inter-African exchange of assets and concluded with the need for better financing.
After that came the questions:

An African Student at Columbia University wanted to know – When do we have an African Charter on Human Rights? HE ALSO CORRECTLY MENTIONED  – “WE ARE NET EXPORTERS OF DOLLARS!”

A lady born in Nigeria and who serves now in New York as a promoter of the rich African Culture here – Ms. Joyce Adewumi – spoke of the women of Africa – i”t seems we are ashamed now of our culture and of what we are doing” – she said. We buy foreign goods – we do not support our own products – We do not Support African Solutions she said to the Ambassadors without flinching. We are ashamed of being Africans!

Then we heard from Claudine Mukamabano, a beautiful young woman, a genocide orphan survivor who turned a life of hardship into one of leadership and advocacy.  She has the recognition of the Assembly of the State of New York for what she is doing for refugees from Africa. “How can we resolve the ethic problems in our continent” she asked? What has the African Union done to prevent genocide, she asked?

When the answers came we heard how an EU good-doer could not provide the rather small amount of money that was needed to provide drinkable water to a particular community – this because there was no existing way to provide small grants. She had to push the EU to go for bigger projects. I was flabbergasted – where were the Africans themselves – why do they not get off the corruption bags and do something for their people?  The basic human problem is that the colonizers put in our head that we are inferior and it stayed there.
They divided us and we stayed divided – was the answer.

The Ugandan said that the Security Council will act on Genocide. He wants Peace Enforcement – Not Just Peace Keeping. The problem with elections – you do not get ideology but tribalism. They’ll make a constitution and go for elections later – then what? The idea is – let’s have the healing before the elections. Quite right but this does not even start to scratch the problem.

Why detest the colonial powers when the actual states they created along Administrative lines are themselves the reason for the in-fighting. If truly independent why not reorganize the continent along lines more acceptable to the population – with attention to the traditional leaders? Why wait for the Security Council where the former colonial powers hold power today and have continuing business interests in their former colonies and are tied to some of the new country leaders?  Why not organize rather an African Union intervention force. Why not a minimum caring for  the people before they are pushed to flee their homes?

Why not talk some more to these refugees living now in the diaspora and listen to their wisdom more often – like in this event at the Peace Islands Institute in New York?

Present at Peace Islands was also Ethiopian Professor Ephraim Isaac who teaches African languages and Religion at East Coast Ivy League Universities. He did not voice opinions but eagerly followed the discussion. He proudly showed me that Harvard is now awarding a yearly prize to honor him on his name – to a promising student in African languages.

Germane to the event at Peace Islands, is also our previous posting about the High-Level Panel on the Illicit outflow of funds from Africa – about $50 Billion/year as presented by former President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki, on February 6, 2014.

 

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 13th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Mr. Robert Orr is Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning with the Executive Office of the Secretary General.

Mr. Orr pointed out that the September 23 date was carved out by moving back by one day the UN General Assembly which makes for great timing because on the day of September 22 there are two additional High Level meetings at the UN – so it is convenient for having the largest number of Heads of State present.

The three hours briefing to the Missions to the UN was held Monday February 10, 2014 10:00 -13:00 by Mr. Orr flanked by principals from UNISDR (International Strategy for Disaster Reduction), UN Habitat, UNEP, UNDP, and the World Bank.

ISDR was created in December 1999 as part of the UN Secretariat with the purpose of ensuring the implementation of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. We assume that finding ways to avoid the effects of Climate Change because of Global Warming ought to be one of their main concerns. Among the topics they seem to focus on at this time are: Climate Resilient Cities (partnering with Habitat); Worldwide Initiative for Safe Schools and Health Facilities; and Innovations in Finance for Resilience – “Public and Private Finance Sector Tools and Instruments that Promote Resilience to Disasters.” Their office in New York will collect ideas about innovations in the Financial System, in Accounting, in microfinancing – here specially in helping governments work with their farmers with an eye on food and hunger. They want to have partnerships already in preparatory meetings.
Their point man is Mr. Glenn Dolcemascolo and he can be reached at  UN.org

I start my reporting with ISDR first, not because they were the first to speak – no they were not – but because I felt that they showed best the intent of the September Summit. They were all business – making it clear that to attack the subject of “risk” this is a private business issue and will have to be tackled with partnerships. They work with Insurance companies, investment funds and the UN affiliated global compact.

Mr. Orr kept stressing that the Summit will be a solutions-focused Summit. It will not have a negotiated outcome but it will be an enabling tool on the UNFCCC negotiating process.

Amazingly – he expects to fit into this single day four different components:

(1) A Plenary where Heads of State can put forward bold programs they intend for their States or for groups of States.  As there are 193 Heads of State and not much time available – it seems the organizers hope for Groups of State Spokesmen and only short announcements from those that have action examples to report on.

(2) Action Platforms for government, finance, business, and civil society announcements. It seems he hopes to have here technical people announcing “concrete” multi-lateral initiatives.

(3) Thematic Sessions to enable the sharing of innovative practice and policy on CLIMATE.

(4) An Outreach and Engagement Platform for “Communications and Networking” – this in order to reach “Beyond the UN walls.”

The Summit will pay attention to geography and will provide balance between mitigation and adaptation drawn from the “potential announcements available.”

The criteria for inclusion are:

(i) contributes to new, substantive, scalable and/or replicable actions to reduce emissions or strengthen resiliency;

(ii) drives to a low-carbon economy, reduces economic risks, advances economic opportunities;

(iii) takes a multi-stakeholder approach, engages governments, finance, business, and civil society

(iv) builds on existing efforts, initiatives, programmes.

 

The participant for UNDP Development Policy, the first to speak after Mr. Orr,  spoke mainly on the Forest Fund and their attention is on Land Use and Forests. The target being changing effects of deforestation with the help of private forestry and enhanced pledges to avoid deforestation.  Their point man in the process towards the September Summit is our old friend Mr. Charles McNeill  UNDP.org

 

They were followed by UNEP’s New York Representative who started by saying that CH4 is 84 times more potent then CO2 – so their focus for September is on Methane and black carbon from gas operations and motor-vehicle tail-pipes. They have already three oil companies, and others  committed and he mentioned also the Royal Bank of Sweden. They stressed the importance of working with the Oil & Gas industry and kept mentioning that some of the companies start to cooperate. This was a very unusual UNEP. Nevertheless, they also spoke of Green Trade Global System to reduce trade of Black Carbon with industry targets.

Also – a second topic for UNEP is Energy Efficiency and the vision that it has a positive economic impact. With existing technologies – lighting, buildings, transportation, made more efficient, can save a lot of oil – and figures were mentioned. This was closer to the old UNEP. The point person for September at UNEP is Ms. Merlyn Van Voore Merlyn,VanVoore@UNEP.org

 

Now spoke UNISDR – then followed by UN HABITAT.       Yamina Djacta, Deputy Director General and Officer in Charge of the HABITAT New York Office, started by mentioning Mayor Bloomberg’s visit recently, on behalf of the UN, at the meeting of local governments that was held in Johannesburg and said that the centrality of business is being recognized now in cities. Local authorities in cities can contribute to National targets she said – and also to save resources. Cities plan to decrease emissions and we will see Climate Action commitments prepared for September. Habitat is calling for low carbon targets reporting by local/subnational authorities. This in itself is quite revolutionary at the UN.

Also, with ISDR, Habitat works on 500 Climate Resilient Species to help build resilient cities she said.
The point person for UN HABITAT for September isMr. Robert Kehew  unhabitat.org

Next, and last was the World Bank. The spokesperson was Jane Olga Ebinger, an Energy Specialist – Health, Safety and Environment – and now manager for the Climate Policy and Finance Team of the Bank. She was the only one that is not a New York City resident and in effect also not a direct UN person. This was made clear several times.

The Bank’s interest is in “Public-Private partnerships and innovative market mechanisms to unlock climate finance.” The bank will try to focus the minds of finance ministers and of private financial institutions – via the economic “drivers” for climate finance.

She wants to build country coalitions to make climate smart economic and business decisions – To help evaluate climate favorable stock, she said. Potential partners are the insurance companies and financial investors. Her horizon includes Incentives for Green Investments, Efficiency, Environmental Stability – Sustainability. She talks of Green Funds and of having met recently at Davos with peers at the World Economic Forum to get low Carbon Funds on country level. The Bank initiated at Davos conversations with a number of governments.
The point person for the World Bank is: Mr. Patrick Verkooijen  pverkooijen at worldbank.org

Mr. Orr added here an additional announcement – this that in addition to the route to the September 23, 2014 meeting we heard up to now, that the UN Secretary-General has accepted the offer from the U.A.E. to have an Abu-Dhabi May 4-5, 2014 meeting as well – the ABU DHABI ASCENT – a high-level meeting to generate momentum for the 23 September Climate Summit being convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The two-day meeting will bring together ministers, as well as leaders from business, finance and civil society, to develop proposals for action and determine how their countries, businesses and organizations can increase their participation in initiatives that broaden and deepen partnerships, in order to deliver concrete action at the September Summit.  

We looked this up in “Green Prophet” and found – “Albeit one of the world’s largest oil producers, which also had the highest environmental footprint per capita for three years in a row, the Emirate continues to assert itself as a leading voice for dramatic environmental change.” – See more at: www.greenprophet.com/2014/02/oil-…

Yes, we know that the UN event is being planned with conventional energy industry at heart – but these added news, which we had in effect already February 5th, quite bother us. We know that without getting on board the oil producers there will be no UN agreement on substance – but placing the design of energy policy in the hands of oil producers doe not promise meaningful achievements on decarbonizing energy. So, let us make it clear – the September event is good public relations that will at best achieve a strengthening of the Natural gas market – in the sense that we will convince that it makes sense to oil producers to monetize their gas rather then flaring it or venting it to the atmosphere. We doubt that this will excite the environmentalists among us – who though glad with a reduction of the release of cH4, still want to see a decrease in CO2.

The UN has already witnessed the placement of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Abu Dhabi and it held  this year  – the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, 19-22 January 2014,   and the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) hosted by MASDAR, that was described as the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East, and a significant platform for international dialogue and cooperation  – January 18-25, 2014 – but we never could warm up to these events as more then the study of potential investments for the oil money – we just cannot dance around this in a Halleluiah dance.

The policy reason for IRENA’s involvement is given in the provided material as: “RENEWABLE READINESS ASSESSMENT NETWORK: Assessment of country renewable energy potential and securing deployment.”
The point person for the UNSG effort at IRENA is Ms. Elisabeth Press   irena.org

 

1. A Commission on Economic Action;

2. The benefit of Climate Change Action on specific areas like health;
3. Science via the IPCCC new report to come out before the meeting in september;
4.Innovation announcements;
5. Sustainable Life Cycles and Livelihoods;
6. he invited the audience to come up with other subjects like devising Low Carbon Growth working with the Global Compact – that is the UN home for corporations large and small – he said.
HIS BOTTOM LINE FOR THE SEPTEMBER 23rd MEETING WAS: “We Can Offer the Platform But It Will Depend On Your Leaders To Provide The Substance.”

He Concluded with: THERE IS AMPLE TIME TO PREPARE and provided the site:

 

AFTER THE ORIGINAL PRESENTATIONS – THE REAL FUN STARTED AT THIS FEBRUARY 10 MEETING:

The first question came from Ambassador Peter Thompson of Fiji, former head of G77  and China, spokesman for the SIDS, Landlocked and Developing Countries with Lowest income, and for 2014 he was elected President of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS). He was the architect of the name-change effective 2011 of the UN’s Group of Asian States to the new name of the Asia-Pacific Group.

Ambassador Thompson remarked  skeptically about 193 Heads of Government and 3-7 minutes each – and the integration of the Oil & Gas Industry for a “Meaningful Commitment.” Then he said – This is a Meaningful Opportunity and we do not want to Second Guess.

He obviously targeted the Abu Dhabi Ascent and wanted to know how we lift the ambitions. Then he pointed out that the US President in the State of the Union said this January that “The Future of Our Grandchildren is at Stake!”

Others wanted to know how the private sector can be engaged in $the 100 Billion Fund that is suposed to kick in soon in order to help the Developing countries starting 2015.

Ambassador Patriota of Brazil continued pointing out the difference in responsibility between countries and issues of Transfer of Technology – the scope of economic drivers and the responsibility for pollution. In short – THERE ARE QUESTIONS OF DRIVERS, he said.

Further – we should avoid reopening issues that were already tackled in other places – like land use and deforestation questions – these will not let us move forward. He sees the basis in the list of the Annex 2 for the responsibility of nations as the starting point.

His conclusion was that the negotiated decisions should be rather under the UNFCCC and not a UNSG one day backed Summit.

The Ambassador from the Solomon Islands, Mr. Colin Beck, reminded us that the ocean acidification and the sea-level rise are here – it will be helpful if we talk on these issues. We would like to know these for Political involvement – he pointed out.

The answers started to point further that if the September event is intended just as a UN gloss-over it will fail.

Mr. Orr said that the Thematic areas are important not those few minute short statements by the Heads of State – everybody can speak but we hope there will be those that will present a “big program” he said and also used the word preference. He also said “we would like to have rather “group Statements.” He also remarked that “we would like Oil & Gas companies not just for political but FINANCIAL topics – we are engaged with them. {is this in the sense that he expects the oil money to finance the industry’s demise ior only the development of a new gas market}. T

The speaker for UNEP answered Brazil: WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE AT LEAST CH4 emissions – so this is an area we can relly on the science and existing technology – especially in the Oil and Gas industry – it helps to improve their image as well. The CH4 and the black carbon from tail-pipes. If we do this we start withserious improvements.

Mr. Orr added to the answer to Brazil that “all we do here is no substitute to UNFCCC – it is for them to cash in what we do here and do the text,” he said.

Also, when we talk of finance – many actors will be here and not in Lima or Paris. {that is to those places he expects again just environment ministers while the Finance and Economy Ministers show up in New York.}

Further, We want to unlock the private funding – there is plenty around that does not go where it is needed.

The Secretary-General talks of the Green Finance Fund – if we get at the Summit a start on this – the Capitalization of The Green Fund -  we could get positive financing agreements in Lima and Paris, he said.
The Pointman for The Green Climate Fund Secretariat is – Mr. Marcelo Jordan   gcfund.org


On Innovation he said that there will be WIPO interest in green technologies and he does not think we should open this discussion again. This is a topic for the UNFCCC. and the creation of a marketplace to accelerate green technology innovation and transfer has a pointman for September – MrJoe Bradley   Joe.Bradley at WIPO.int

 

The second round of questions/comments started with the Ambassador from Kiribati -  Ms. Makurita Baaro. She addressed the issue of resilience and pointed out that we speak about everything except what really counts – the people. Only ISDR had something on this about cities. For us – the Canaries in the Mine? The Ambassador was told her comment was right.

On Adaptation and Resilience Mr. Orr said we must have a “balanced view” for September and the specific areas must be brought up, He said that Land Use and Forests are helpful to the program – I take that the extreme cases today – should get preference.

The UN Representative for the European Commission reminded the meeting that President Baroso  is expected by the time of the meeting of the European Council on March 21st to have the eU proposals that wil be used also for the run-up to September and for the platforms intended for Lima and Paris.

Further comments dealt with Mitigation, Adaptation and Reductions of Risk and Loss and Damage provisions to be advanced at the September Summit – but Palau warned that there should be no duplication of UNFCCC.

There is blooming an issue of Stranded Assets – Various investments will be worth less if we do not do something to reduce risk. These are areas that cause him to hope that this will be a topic at the Global Compact lunch that will be populated with lots of business people – so here we have it – business is expected to save the planet for its own interest and this is fine with us.
Surinam spoke his hope that there will be a shorter list of speakers and most willing to listen. Groups will be speaking with the Summit being just an extra – some countries saying – “we can do this without committing ourselves.

Addressing the Abu-Dhabi Ascent – Surinam, a country that has still 90% of its trees standing, can commit to let the trees standing and “We need Partners” to develop such programs. If we can go there and propose this – the Summit might help.

Mr. Orr got the point that this also means funding travel gave a general anwer that these proposals will have to be fleshed out and that the Ascent is part of a two stage strategy – y in the following negotiations. That is exactly where Climate Finance and Forest Finance come in. The need to achieve this so we like to see this happen. We felt that finally we were hearing serious thoughts and money where it is now – in the hands of the oil people – might help improve the image of the oil industry and be the real reason why they want to be part of these Olympics.

Climate Finance and Sustainable Development Finance overlap. How do you work now so that they reinforce?

Pension Funds that do not invest in our topics but should – and will. Ms. Jane Ebinger said that this is the way the Bank works with the Asian Development Bank and the OECD – and gets to see joint benefits with flows to Climate change and other issues.

So, there is a method here at play – not a blind-leads-blind anymore – but money being led so that it saves money and makes more money – strange enough – but that is how the real world works – the SIDS and others among the poor nations do not have much of a chance unless there are suitors ready to find an interesting angle in them helping in image making.

One last comment – this one just from me. The highly touted UN SE4All (thin the e Sustainable Energy for All UN office headquartered at the UN in Vienna) was mentioned only in the two-sheet handout – but not mentioned once in the 3 hour long meeting. Seemingly business has not yet discovered how to make directly money out of them.

The Papers give for SE4All as challenge – Country Energy Action and Implementation  and as pointman we have Minoru Takada   un.org

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another UN reference for the 2014 Climate Summit:

About | Summits on Climate Change

United Nations website on climate change summits. UN icon in English by the Climate Change Support Team (CCST) working closely with the UN System.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 11th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Welcoming Tunisia’s Adoption of New Constitution, Secretary-General Says:

 

Country Sets Example for Others Seeking Reforms.

 

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General commends the commitment to dialogue and consensus that has marked the democratic transition in Tunisia, which reached another historic milestone with the adoption today of the country’s new Constitution.  He believes Tunisia’s example can be a model to other peoples seeking reforms.

The Secretary-General encourages political actors in Tunisia to ensure the next steps of the transition are conducted in a peaceful, inclusive and transparent manner.  Strengthening the democratic institutions created by the Constitution and related laws will help promote accountability and the rule of law with full respect to human rights.  Close attention must also be paid to ensuring economic growth is achieved in an equitable and sustainable manner.

 

The Secretary-General reiterates the support of the United Nations to Tunisia and encourages the international community to increase its support for the country’s efforts to consolidate its democracy and to address the economic challenges ahead.

ALSO – IN GENEVA MR> BAN KI-MOON SAID:

I thank His Excellency President Moncef Marzouki for inviting me to participate in this historic occasion for the people of Tunisia.  I applaud the Government and people of Tunisia as we celebrate two important milestones:  the adoption of a new Constitution and the third anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity.

Three years ago, Tunisia led the way to democratic reform, economic equality and freedom in the region.  Despite many challenges to its unity and security, Tunisia remained committed to fulfilling the goals of the Revolution through dialogue and consensus.

I congratulate the Tunisian people for the wisdom and determination they have shown throughout these challenging times.  In addition to the adoption of the new Constitution, the formation of a new Government to lead the next steps of the transition and the positive prospects for legislative and presidential elections are promising signs for the future of the transition.

As Tunisia strives to achieve the aims of the Revolution and meet the aspirations of its people, it will be important for its political actors to continue to put the interests of the country first and to ensure that the next steps of the transition are conducted in a peaceful, inclusive and transparent manner.  Strengthening the democratic institutions created by the Constitution and related laws will contribute to promoting accountability and the rule of law with full respect to human rights.  Economic growth must also be pursued in an equitable and sustainable manner.

I call on members of the international community to increase support for Tunisia’s efforts to consolidate its democracy and address the economic challenges ahead.

I count on the Government and people of Tunisia to continue to inspire the world as they did some three years ago, and serve as an example for dialogue and compromise in resolving political disputes across the region and beyond.

 

The United Nations will continue to stand by Tunisia as it moves towards a more democratic, prosperous and equitable future.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 9th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Supported by the Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the UN,
The Journalists & Writers Foundation (JWF) – an ECOSOC NGO at the UN – based in Turkey, and
The Peace Islands Institute based in New York City

Chaired by Galymshan Kirbasov, Adjunct Faculty at Columbia University with a pannel :

Mr. Huseyin Hurmali, Vice President JWF,

H.E. Carlos Enrique Garcia Gonzalez, El Salvador Ambassador to the UN,

Prof. Alastair Smith, Dept of Politics at the New York University,

Prof. Severine Autesserre, Barnard College, Columbia University,

Prof. Johannes Urpelainen, Columbia University,

Friday, February 7, 2014 – during the lunch-break time slot at the last day of the 8-th Session of the OWG on the topic of the post-2015 SDGs.

The JWF is active since 1994 in efforts to promote love, tolerance and dialogue in an effort to create common living space based on reconciliation and mutual respect. The strategy is to bring together people from different backgrounds in order to find intellectual capital for social peace. They are active in 146 countries on 5 continents. and are inspired by the philosophy of the Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and Islamic opinion leader  who lives  in self-imposed exile to Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania – Mr. Fethullah Gulen.

Why is Fethullah Gulen's stance vis-à-vis Mavi Marmara wrong?
Throughout his life and until today, Fethullah Gulen has been greatly influenced by the ideas and writings of many great Muslim scholars, amongst them: Said Nursi, Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi, Abu Hanifa, Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Yunus Emre.

In line with these great thinkers, Fethullah Gulen’s philosophy and writings embody ideas of altruistic service to one’s community and likewise to humanity in general; harmony between intelligence and heart; sincerity; a holistic view of the human; a profound devotion and love of creation. Throughout his life, Mr. Gulen has been noted for his support of democracy, science, dialogue and non-violence.
In 1994, Mr. Gulen co-founded the “Journalists and Writers Foundation” and was given the title “Honorary President” by the foundation. In March 1999, upon the recommendation of his doctors, Fethullah Gulen moved to the U.S. to receive medical care.

In July 2008, Fethullah Gulen was voted the top public intellectual in the world by Foreign Policy Magazine.
He is serving also as the Honorary President of the Rumi Forum since 1999. He was recently listed by Time 100 of 2013.

Despite the high regard millions hold for him, Mr. Gulen considers himself a volunteering member of the civil society movement he helped found and does not accept any credit of leadership for the Hizmet (Service) Movement.

Fethullah Gulen devotes his time to reading, writing, and religious devotion. He has based his understanding of service upon this guiding principle, ‘living to let others live’ (‘yasatmak icin yasamak’ in Turkish).

The Gülen movement has been described as “having the characteristics of a cult” and its secretiveness and influence in Turkish politics likened to “an Islamic Opus Dei.     In the Turkish context, Gülen appears as a religious conservative.

Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state and Islam in the modern world. Gullen has millions of followers in Turkey and outside Turkey.

His teachings differ in emphasis from those of other mainstream Islamic scholars in two respects, both based on his interpretations of particular verses of the Quran. Let us repeat this – He teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (Turkish: hizmet) to the “common good” of the community and the nationand to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and also that the Muslim community is obliged to conduct interfaith dialogue with the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians) – though this does not extend to other religions and it seems he dislikes atheists

His teachings about hizmet (altruistic service to the “common good”) have attracted a large number of supporters in Turkey, Central Asia, and increasingly in other parts of the world.

Gülen has supported Turkey’s bid to join the European Union and has said that neither Turkey nor the EU have anything to fear, but have much to gain, from a future of full Turkish membership in the EU.

Gülen has condemned terrorism. He warns against the phenomenon of arbitrary violence and aggression against civilians and said that it “has no place in Islam”. He wrote a condemnation article in the Washington Post on September 12, 2001, one day after the September 11 attacks, and stated that “A Muslim can not be a terrorist, nor can a terrorist be a true Muslim.” Gülen lamented the “hijacking of Islam” by terrorists.

Gülen criticized the Turkish-led Gaza flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel’s consent. He spoke of watching the news coverage of the deadly confrontation between Israeli commandos and multinational aid group members as its flotilla approached Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza. He said, “What I saw was not pretty, it was ugly.” He has since continued his criticism, saying later that the organizers’ failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid was “a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters.

Gülen is strongly against Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War. No doubt in our mind – Gullen is best advised not to return to Turkey or to any Muslim led country these days.

 

Despite Gülen’s and his followers’ claims that the organization is non-political in nature, analysts believe that a number of corruption-related arrests made against allies of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an reflect a growing political power struggle between Gülen and the prime minister. These arrests led to the 2013 corruption scandal in Turkey, which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s supporters (along with Erdo?an himself) and the opposition parties alike have said was choreographed by Gülen after Erdo?an’s government came to the decision early in December 2013 to shut down many of his movement’s private Islamic schools in Turkey.

The ongoing power struggle between the Erdo?an government and the Gülenists in the police force and the judiciary has allegedly revealed the existence of a well-organized and powerful “parallel state” directed by Gülen himself.The scandals uncovered what the Erdo?an government has said are the long term political agenda of Gülen’s movement to infiltrate security, intelligence, and justice institutions of the Turkish state, a charge almost identical to the charges found against Gülen by the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Turkey in his trial in 2000 before Erdo?an’s party had come into power. Gülen was tried in absentia in 2000, and acquitted in 2008 under Erdo?an’s AKP government from these charges.

In emailed comments to the Wall Street Journal in January 2014, Gülen said that “Turkish people … are upset that in the last two years democratic progress is now being reversed,” but he denied being part of a plot to unseat the government  ] Later, in January 2014, in an interview with BBC World, Gulen said “If I were to say anything to people I may say people should vote for those who are respectful to democracy, rule of law, who get on well with people. Telling or encouraging people to vote for a party would be an insult to peoples’ intellect. Everybody very clearly sees what is going on.

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After this large introduction about one unusual intellectual Muslim living now in the US – let us see now what the Journalists & Writers Foundation and their Panel of Academics  have as advise to the UN?

Professor Alastair Smith, who studied for years hunger in Ethiopia found that foreign aid funds that do-good NGOs funelled to ethiopian government or local NGOs never reached their intended targets for help, but were rather reaching arms dealers to supply the forces involved in the ongoing civil war. The money helped the dictators in order to increase the misery that was providing them with outside funding – a convenient cycle to them. So, the EU gave money through the UN affiliates to support arm exporters? Did I just hear an honest description of how the concept of Sovereignty at the UN makes it hard to do humanitarian work through the UN?

A Democratic Donor feeding money to an Autocratic Recipient is a self defeating procedure – anyone at the UN is honest enough to accept this true fact?

The Democracy helping the authoritarian government to keep the peace for trade and export of commodities, may look as a good deal to the democracy – but guess what – the poor people that were not helped by this will now hate the Democracy even more then their direct oppressors.

Then – if you get elected to the Security Council you get more aid then in the years you are not on the Security Council – that he checked easily by using not only indicators that related to GDP and growth in poor authoritarian countries that rotate in and out of the UN Security Council. He also checked indices of Human Rights and Freedom of the Press – and found that these are connected to aid money as well. When it arrives and when it is lower.

If you are supposed to do preventive work to avoid floods – but you find that aid money arrives after the floods did occur, you find it convenient to have those floods. What now with Climate Change an increasing  factor? The remedy?
Do not give Misery-Money – rather Pay for Success Stories!
Some pearls from Prof. Smith I found on the Internet:The Dictator's Handbook 2011 PublicAffairs.

Quick study: Alastair Smith on political tyranny

How to be a dictator

 

 

ALASTAIR SMITH is professor of politics at New York University. The recipient of three grants from the National Science Foundation and author of three books, he was chosen as the 2005 Karl Deutsch Award winner, given biennially to the best international-relations scholar under the age of 40. He is co-author of “The Dictator's Handbook: How Bad Behaviour is Almost Always Good Politics” (2011).

To whom do your guidelines apply?

Everyone. It doesn't matter whether you are a dictator, a democratic leader, head of a charity or a sports organisation, the same things go on. Firstly, you don't rule by yourself—you need supporters to keep you there, and what determines how you best survive is how many supporters you have and how big a pool you can draw these supporters from.

Do they actually have to support me, or can I just terrify them into supporting me by threatening them with death?

No, they absolutely have to support you on some level. You can't personally go around and terrorise everyone. Our poor old struggling Syrian president is not personally killing people on the streets. He needs the support of his family, senior generals who are willing to go out and kill people on his behalf.  The common misconception is that you need support from the vast majority of the population, but that's typically not true. There is all this protest on Wall Street, but CEOs are keeping the people they need to keep happy happy—the members of the board, senior management and a few key investors—because they are the people who can replace them. Protesters on Wall Street have no ability to remove the CEOs. So in a lot of countries the masses are terrified but the supporters are not.

What about Stalin? Even his inner circle was terrified.

Well, the brilliance of the Soviet regime was not just that you relied on few people, but that there were lots of replacements. In a tsarist system you have to rely only on aristocrats, but in a Soviet system everyone can be your supporter. This puts your core circle on notice that they are easily replaced. That, of course, made them horribly loyal. The Mob are very good at this.

Suggested viewing: "On The Waterfront" (1954)

This sounds typically mammalian to me—just groups of gorillas with a silverback?

It is virtually impossible to find any example where leaders are not acting in their own self interest. If you are a democrat you want to gerrymander districts and have an electoral college. This vastly reduces the number of votes a president needs to win an election.  Then tax very highly. It's much better to decide who gets to eat than to let the people feed themselves. If you lower taxes people will do more work, but then people will get rewards that aren't coming through you. Everything good must come through you. Look at African farm subsidies. The government buys crops at below market price by force. This is a tax on farmers who then can't make a profit. So, how do you reward people? The government subsidises fertilisers and hands it back that way. In Tanzania vouchers for fertilisers are handed out not to the most productive areas but to the party loyalist areas. This is always subject to the constraint that if you tax too highly people won't work. This is the big debate in the US. The Republicans are saying that the Democrats have too many taxes and want to suppress workers. But when they were in power five years ago they had no problem with taxing and spending policies, but now it's taxing their supporters to reward Democrats.

Suggested reading: "Markets and States in Tropical Africa: The Political Basis of Agricultural Policy" by Robert Bates (2005)

Okay. So, I have a small group of rewarded cronies and a highly taxed population. Now what?
Don't pay your supporters too much! You don't want them saving up and forming their own power base. Also, don't be nice to the people at the expense of your coalition. A classic example is natural disasters. Than Shwe was the ruler of Burma when Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008, and he did nothing to help the people. The Generals didn't warn anybody; though they knew it was coming, they provided virtually no emergency protection. He sent the army in to prevent the people from leaving the flooded Delta areas. He was the perfect example of a leader who never made the mistake of putting the people's welfare above himself and his coalition.

But what if you really are trying to work for the common good? Is there no way of doing that?

None. If you're working for the common good you didn't come to power in the first place. If you're not willing to cheat, steal, murder and bribe then you don't come to power.

What if you're Lech Walesa?

I'm pretty certain he had his own political power base. He wanted to make society more inclusive. This is always the battle cry of revolutionary leaders. When they get into power they change their tune. The real question is what stops politicians from backsliding once they get in? Typically, it's that the country is broke and the only way you can get people to work is by empowering them socially, but once you do that it becomes hard to take powers back from them. Broke countries are the ones that end up having the political reforms that make them nice places with good economic policy in the long run. Places where there is oil, like Libya, have a very low chance of having democracy. The leaders don't really need the people to pay the bills of their cronies, because they have oil.
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French speaking Professor Severine Autesserre had first hand experience in Congo.

Dr. Autesserre’s current research project examines how everyday elements influence international peacebuilding interventions on the ground. She has conducted extensive fieldwork for this project between 2010 and 2012, with a primary case study on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and comparative research in Burundi, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste. Findings from this project have appeared in Critique Internationale and African Affairs, and Dr. Autesserre is finalizing a book entitled Peacebuilders: An Ethnography of International Intervention (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2014).

 

Professor Autesserre's previous research project focused on local violence and international intervention in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she has traveled regularly since 2001. It culminated in the book The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge University Press, 2010). The book won the 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the 2011 Chadwick Alger prize presented by the International Studies Association to the best book on international organizations and multilateralism. Research for this project has also appeared in Foreign Affairs, International Organization, the Review of African Political Economy, the African Studies Review, the African Security Review, the Revista de Relaciones Internationales, and the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs.

Professor Autesserre's work has been supported by two research awards from the United States Institute of Peace (2004-2005 and 2010-2012), two Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation research grants (2010 and 2011), a Presidential Research Award from Barnard (2010-2011), several grants from Columbia University (2010 – 2012), two Mellon Fellowships in Security and Humanitarian Action (2004-2006), and a Fulbright Fellowship (1999-2000). Her Ph.D. dissertation at New York University was nominated for the award for best dissertation for 2007 in the areas of in international relations, law, and politics. Her paper "Local Violence, National Peace? Post-war 'Settlement' in the Eastern D.R. Congo," was awarded the Graduate Student Paper Prize Award of the African Studies Association in 2006.

Professor Autesserre has extensive experience working with international humanitarian and development agencies in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, India, and the United States. She has worked for organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World.

Professor Autesserre says that in Congo a main problem was that outside intervention  did very little work with grass-roots - it was rather a top-down story for a top-down solution.

The Trouble with the Congo

Prof. Séverine Autesserre pens op-ed about Congo for The New York Times
Political science professor urges support of local grassroots efforts to establish peace.

among Working papers:

The Responsibility to Protect in the Congo: The Failure of Prevention
Chapter in O’Bannon, Brett; Roth, John; and Bellamy, Alex (eds.) The Evolution of the Responsibility to Protect: Imperfect Duties?, Global Politics and the Responsibility to Protect series, Routledge, accepted for publication, forthcoming 2014

French speaking Prof. Autresserre analyses the local reasons that in times of stress cause peaceful neighbors to turn against each other leading to scale-up, or if you wish a bottom-to-top fight. But she finds also the total lack of preventive work by outsiders that appear is if to help after the fact and address this as a top-to-bottom issue. Sustainable Development as a preventive means is the way to go but she makes it clear that we are in a two-way system - tus the title of our meeting.So in summary - LOCAL CONFLICT HINDERS DEVELOPMENT - MAKE PEACE SUSTAINABLE!

The Congo is her forte - it got disorganized via Belgium colonialism, and a question from the audience was about Mozambique - the former Portuguese colony. How is it that there the same post-colonialism period got its differences tamed down rather early. What else could one infer from this? The answer was not clear - it may be that a better local leadership evolved earlier. Whatever, the conclusion is still that conflict must be resolved from bottom-up and outside funding has to go to local support.

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Professor Johannes Urpelainen of the Political Science Department at Columbia is closest to our own themes.

He spoke recently  at Yale Climate& Energy Institute examining the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argued that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.

He also described an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh.

Also of interest we found his:
Explaining the Schwarzenegger Phenomenon: Local Frontrunners in Climate Policy. 2009. Global Environmental Politics 9 (3): 82-105.

examines the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?
Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?

At the meeting at the UN he took for granted that Peace is a precondition for Sustainable Development but raised the question if indeed Sustainable Development is a pre-condition for Peace.  This is more complicated and not so clear. In effect,  just a few years ago it seemed not accepted yet that environmental dgradation leads to violence. This changed now with our awareness of Climate Change and its effects.

Higher temperatures in Africa co-relates  with the starting of wars. He continued by saying:

"WE MUST CONSIDER WHAT WE DO HERE IN AMERICA AS A REASON OF WAR THERE IN AFRICA" - "WE MUST FIND NEW WAYS TO TREAT LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS."     {I did the unusual thing and clapped my hands.}

"Green Growth is important also in the developing countries of the south. This because what happens in India will influence Africa and this will influence us here as well."

If you are a poor country there is little you can do to prepare yourself - you find that misery is transferred to you from the outside via Global Warming.

For SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THE ENVIRONMENTAL DIMENSION MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE SDGs,
he stressed.

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In the discussion that followed it was stressed from around the table that Congo (and Mozambique) are among the wealthiest countries in the world because of the presence of large natural resources. In Congo the revenue flow to the government lets nothing for the people. This is actually a resource curse that is at the root of problems. AID is negative. The problem is that there are many rich people and their income is not taxed so there is no official money for the poor. This is an outside involvement problem and a lack of governance. It is the pits.

The Peace Islands hosts of the meeting mentioned here Syria where the conflict involves the people versus the government directly. To which Prof Autesserre said that you must have different policies for different dimensions of conflict. This gets us to the issue of how we react to the concept of the Sovereignty of the State. We must approach this in a way we support the local actors without creating the feeling that we take over the State. That was the problem that has led t people hating the US when it acted as a tool to regime change.

Migration was mentioned - also here the issue is internal migration as separate from international migration. Africa has a set of rules for internal migration under the Kampala agreement - but there is nothing in the books about external migration.

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In relation to this panel, I will also include an official UN panel that made its work now that same day - actually in parallel - that same time.

Chaired by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki with a Vice-President from business, Carlos Lopez, as his co-chair,  and other 8 distinguished members, the UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows that leave Africa, was established by the UN Secretary-General and the UN General Assembly President. This Panel announced its findings - and they are atrocious - showcasing what our Panel was all about.

As said in the opening speech by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson of Sweden, it is $50 billion per year that leave Africa - the damage to individuals and Africa's development and governance agenda as a whole. This figure is much higher then the official ODA that goes to Africa - so is it not that Africa's poor actually finance the World's rich?
Eliasson continued and said that this is looked at by the Un, not just for Africa, in regard to the post-2015 Development Agenda
that will have to address the illicit flows and tax evasions and help recover some of these stollen assets.

The Panel's findings were that two thirds of the out-flow from Africa came from the two regions - West Africa (38% and North Africa 28%. The other regions were as follows: Southern Africa 13%, Eastern Africa 11%, and Central Africa 10%.

The money came from OIL and  PRECIOUS METALS AND MINERALS - with 3-4% sourced each from categories - ores, machinery, fruits and nuts, copper, iron &steel, cocoa, textiles, fish and crustaceans.
This meaning that about 75% came from the exports of oil, gold, platinum, and diamonds.

Further - Corruption defined as - bribery, embezzlement - accounted only for 5% of the financial flows  - with 35% defined as Criminal activities such as the trade in drugs, weapons, and people.
Astonishingly this leaves 60% as leaving the continent in Commercial transactions through multinational companies.

Under-Secretar-General Eliasson commended the Panel for their research and for reaching out to officials from: "the United States Government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and others in Washington Dc - and looks forward to further insights the distinguished members of the Panel will have on this important issue."

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One last comment about all of this regards the UN Department of Public Information and the official UN Spokesman for the Secretary General.

That office's MEDIA ALERT knew to announce only a 1:15 pm Panel discussion of "Decent Jobs in the Transition to a Sustainable Economy" - totally by-passing any reference to the PRESS about the Peace and Sustainable Development panel - but that is an old story - some at DPI just do not like the Sustainable Development concept - it is too closely related to a future decrease of oil money flows.

On the other hand - they had to make place for a few minutes to President Mbeki - that would have been too much to cut him out - but that same day they did cut out completely the event with the President of the UN General Assembly by first announcing 10 minutes with his spokesperson Ms. Afaf Konja and then pushing her out as it obviously was going to fall to the way-side because of "Stake-Outs" at the Security Council. Oh Well - did we ever believe the UN bureaucracy will help?

 

the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

The Opinion Pages|Op-Ed Columnist

The Egyptian Disaster

LONDON — In Davos, Secretary of State John Kerry talked for a long time about Iran. He talked for a long time about Syria. He talked for a very long time about Israel-Palestine. And he had nothing to say about Egypt.

This was a glaring omission. Egypt, home to about a quarter of all Arabs and the fulcrum of the Arab Spring, is in a disastrous state. Tahrir Square, emblem of youthful hope and anti-dictatorial change three years ago, is home now to Egyptians baying for a military hero with the trappings of a new Pharaoh to trample on the “terrorists” of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Yet, in a speech devoted to rebutting what he called “this disengagement myth” — the notion that a war-weary United States is retreating from the Middle East — Kerry was silent on a nation that is a United States ally, the recipient of about $1.3 billion a year in military aid (some suspended), and the symbol today of the trashing of American hopes for a more inclusive, tolerant and democratic order in the Middle East.

The silence was telling. The Obama administration has been all over the place on Egypt, sticking briefly with Hosni Mubarak, then siding with his ouster, then working hard to establish productive relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and its democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, then backing the military coup that removed Morsi six months ago (without calling it a coup) and finally arguing, in the words of Kerry last August, that the military headed by Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi was “restoring democracy.”

This “restoration” has in fact involved a fierce crackdown on the Brotherhood, named a terrorist organization on Dec. 25, and on anyone not bowing to Sisi, whose brutal new order has left well over 1,000 people dead. It has involved the rapid adoption of a Constitution drafted by a 50-member committee including only two representatives of Islamist parties, so providing a mirror image of the problems with Morsi’s Islamist-dominated drafting process.

The Constitution won the approval this month of 98.1 percent of voters, a back-to-the-future number recalling Saddam Hussein’s “elections.” In fact this was 98.1 percent of the mere 38.6 percent of Egyptians who voted: Most Egyptians are either cowed in fear (the Brotherhood) or despairing (the Twitter-generation youth who ignited the Tahrir revolution) or reduced to apathy: So much for inclusiveness.

Egypt is the most vivid illustration of the American disengagement Kerry sought to rebut. Saudi and Emirati billions deployed behind Sisi have been more telling than America’s paltry billion, or its training of Egyptian officers, or its pious expressions of backing for an Egypt offering equal rights to all citizens regardless of their gender, faith, ethnicity or political affiliation. America has watched and wavered as the most important Arab society lost its revolution to the familiar, arid juxtaposition of the military and Islamists (all of them now “terrorists” to the baying pro-Sisi crowd.)

This Egyptian debacle is a significant strategic failure for the United States, and of course, like red lines that proved not to be so red in Syria, it has sent a message of American retreat. It seems inevitable that Sisi will now run for president and win with some back-to-the-future number. If he does not run whoever does will be no more than his puppet.

David Kirkpatrick, my colleague in Cairo, said it all in this brilliant, depressing lead: “Thousands of Egyptians celebrated the third anniversary of their revolt against autocracy on Saturday by holding a rally for the military leader who ousted the country’s first democratically elected president.”

Mohamed Soltan, a 26-year-old American graduate of Ohio State University whose Egyptian father belongs to the Brotherhood and who was detained in Cairo in August, is one victim of that military leader. He wrote a devastating letter to President Obama, recently made public by his family. Soltan sits in a “packed underground cell,” being operated on for gunshot wounds without anesthetic by a doctor who is a cellmate wielding pliers, wondering if “today is going to be the day Americanness counts” and “the Egyptian authorities will have no choice but to treat me like a human being.”

Soltan is still waiting. As are the many Egyptian people who wanted to move toward a more open society, not back to one of countless political prisoners.

I was in Cairo in early January. Out at the Great Pyramid in Giza there was not one Western tourist. I went for a camel ride out of pity for the many camel owners doing zero business. The tourism industry, once an economic mainstay, is in tatters. It reflects the abject state of a great nation.

There is plenty of blame to go around — for Obama, for the hapless Morsi, for the paranoid power-grabbing Muslim Brotherhood, for the controlling military. But above all I blame the squabbling Egyptian liberals who fought for Mubarak’s ouster but did not give democracy a chance.

Recent Comments

J. Von Hettlingen –

Mr. Cohen writes: “But above all I blame the squabbling Egyptian liberals who fought for Mubarak’s ouster but did not give democracy a…

William Dufort –

Relax. All is well. Just ask the military-industrial complex.

Jack Hartman –

Mr. Cohen is correct in that there is plenty of blame to go around for the debacle in Egypt. However, if the United States, the world’s…

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Egypt’s Ruler Eyes Riskier Role: The Presidency.

www.nytimes.com/2014/01/28/world/middleeast/egypt.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20140128

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Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was in Brussels last week seeking to repair relations with Europe, but the first place to look for a solution is within himself. Once hailed as the leader of a model Muslim democracy, he has created a political disaster at home, transforming Turkey into an authoritarian state that poses dangers not just for itself but for its allies in NATO, including the United States.

The latest turmoil has its roots in a political war between Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and his former close allies who follow Fethullah Gulen, a moderate Islamic scholar who lives in Pennsylvania. The tensions erupted into the open last month with a corruption probe that led to the resignation of four government ministers and threatened to ensnare Mr. Erdogan’s family. The prime minister called the probe a “coup attempt” and blamed a “secret organization” within the judiciary and police directed by the Gulen movement and serving “foreign powers” like the United States and Israel. The government has since purged hundreds of police officials and prosecutors and sought to assert control over the judiciary. It also drafted legislation expanding the government’s power to appoint judges and prosecutors, further breaching judicial independence, and has prevented journalists from reporting freely. All the while, Mr. Erdogan has spewed endless conspiracy theories and incendiary rhetoric, even hinting at American treachery and suggesting that the American ambassador might be expelled.

The probe and Mr. Erdogan’s reaction may well be politically motivated. There are important local elections in March. But Mr. Erdogan should be insisting that the probe be fair and transparent, not trying to derail it. His ruthless ways and his attempt to crush dissent are not new, as the crackdown against demonstrators during protests last June showed. Such actions trample on democratic reforms demanded by the European Union as part of Turkey’s bid for union membership, which may be more in peril than ever, and they are increasingly at odds with the ground rules for NATO members.

Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, was right when he said in Brussels that the Europeans must demand that Turkey return to the rule of law. The Obama administration also needs to send a strong message about the damaging course Mr. Erdogan is pursuing. Whether Turkey nurtures its hard-won democracy, which has contributed to its impressive economic growth, or turns authoritarian is as critical to regional stability and to its NATO allies as it is to Turks.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 26th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 We just received the following release from UNEP, this after we listened to Fareed Zakaria interviewing in Davos the present Egyptian Prime Minister Hazen El Bablawi who seemed blasee to the fact that Egypt is deteriorating – just one more Arab State that seems compelled to love a dictatorship.

Iraq’s environment was destroyed by the oil industry and is now – like Syria – a global basket case. If these countries are not allowed to fall apart and reorganize along more friendly internal lines no amount of help to the environment will have any impact on their future.

Iraq’s dictator put on fire all his oil producing facilities in disregard of his people and the World at large. The best possible environmental recovery process will start with the complete closing of that oil pumping industry. Islamic extremist hot-heads will do little for life in this part of the World where some would rather worship death. Our good friend and well meaning head of UNEP – Achim Steiner – goes to Baghdad and presents the local Environment Minister with a volume in Arabic that tells him what his government could do for a purpose they do not have yet – the environment in which their people ought to be able to live while they are being bombed and shot at daily?

It would be nice indeed if we could center governments’ attention around a worship of Nature rather then the present worship of a religious zeal that sees the enemy in humans and has no value for Nature. Strange – but with every passing day we get closer to the point that we may eventually recommend Vodou (Voodoo)  as the true rational ethics.

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UNEP NEWS: Landmark Agreement Sets in Motion Action to Restore Iraq’s Environment as New Study Outlines Magnitude of Deterioration.

Landmark Agreement Sets in Motion Action to Restore Iraq’s Environment as New Study Outlines Magnitude of Deterioration. UN Top Environment Chief in First Visit to Iraq Says Implementation of Agreement will Bolster Environmental Recovery and Peace-building.      {Peace building did he say?}

Baghdad, 26 January 2014 – In an effort to set in motion robust action to restore Iraq’s fast deteriorating environment, the Government of Iraq signed, Sunday, a landmark agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that aims to speed up recovery and support peace-building.

Iraq’s environment has suffered severe decline in recent years, exacerbated by decades of war and growing pressures on natural resources.

According to a new government study – backed by UN and World Bank data – 5 to 8 per cent of Iraq’s GDP is lost annually to environmental degradation.

At the same time, 39 per cent of Iraq’s agricultural land suffered a reduction in cropland between 2007 and 2009. Meanwhile food insecurity remains on the rise.

The report warns that the quality and quantity of the country’s water has been impacted by upstream damming, pollution, climate change and inefficient usage.

The amount of water available per person per year decreased from 5,900 cubic metres to 2,400 cubic metres between 1977 and 2009.  Decreasing water supplies were exacerbated by drought from 2005 and 2009.

The Tigris and the Euphrates, Iraq’s two major surface water sources, may dry up by 2040 if current conditions prevail.

“Achieving sustainable development is by no means a light undertaking, especially after decades of wars, sanctions and environmental degradation. Rebuilding Iraq’s environmental infrastructure underpins the country’s recovery and peace-building efforts”, said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, on his first-ever visit to Iraq.

“The commitment of the Government to achieve environmental sustainability is clearly articulated in the vision, goals and objectives of the National Development Plan, which places the Green Economy at the heart of development and economic policies,” he added.

The new five-year Strategic Cooperation Agreement with UNEP will strengthen efforts to overcome many of Iraq’s environmental challenges.

Iraqi Minister of Environment Eng. Sargon Lazar Slewa said: ” The Government of Iraq is committed to moving ahead with plans to restore the environment as part of our National Development Plan.  The visit by Mr. Steiner and the signing of the cooperation agreement will expedite and further strengthen this process. The well-being, security and livelihoods of Iraqi’s are dependent on our success.”

Areas of cooperation defined by the agreement will focus on: environmental legislation and regulations; biodiversity conservation; green economy; cleaner production; resource efficiency; combating dust storms; and climate change reporting, mitigation and adaptation.

The signing of the agreement took place at a special event hosted by the Minister of Environment to welcome Mr. Steiner to Baghdad.

It was attended by key figures including cabinet ministers, parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic community and international organizations.

Cooperation between the Government of Iraq and UNEP dates back to 2003, immediately after the establishment of the Ministry of Environment.

Since then, UNEP has worked with the Iraqi Government on multiple projects, including: rapid post-conflict environmental assessments; environmental clean-up of highly contaminated sites; and the restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshlands.

The report, entitled “Iraq State of Environment and Outlook” is available in Arabic only. It was prepared by the Government of Iraq with support from UNDP, UNEP and WHO.

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Facts and figures from the report:

·         Around 31 per cent of Iraq’s surface is desert. At the same time, 39 per cent of the country’s surface is estimated to have been affected by desertification, with an additional 54 per cent under threat.

·         As a result of declining soil moisture and lack of vegetative cover, recent years have witnessed an increase in the frequency of vast dust and sand storms, often originating in the western parts of Iraq.

·         Population growth is adding mounting pressure to existing food, water and energy resources.

·         By 2030, the population is expected to grow to almost 50 million people, exacerbating these pressures even further.

·         Sustainable access to safe water and sanitation remain a challenge: 83 per cent of Iraq’s wastewater is left untreated, contributing to the pollution of Iraq’s waterways and general environment.

·         Years of conflict and violence resulted in chemical pollution and unexploded ordnances, which is affecting the safety and lives of an estimated 1.6 million Iraqis.

For more information, please contact:

Shereen Zorba, Head of News and Media, UNEP, Nairobi, Tel.+254-788-526-000
or Email: shereen.zorba@unep.org/ unepnewsdesk@unep.org

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